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June 17, 2019                                                                     GOVERNMENT SERVICES COMMITTEE


 

Pursuant to Standing Order 68, Helen Conway Ottenheimer, MHA for Harbour Main, substitutes for Barry Petten, MHA for Conception Bay South.

 

Pursuant to Standing Order 68, Siobhan Coady, MHA for St. John’s West, substitutes for Elvis Loveless, MHA for Fortune Bay - Cape La Hune, for a portion of the meeting

 

Pursuant to Standing Order 68, Ches Crosbie, MHA for Windsor Lake, substitutes for Loyola O’Driscoll, MHA for Ferryland.

 

Pursuant to Standing Order 68, Brian Warr, MHA for Baie Verte - Green Bay, substitutes for Derrick Bragg, MHA for Fogo Island - Cape Freels.

 

The Committee met at 9 a.m. in the Assembly Chamber.

 

CHAIR (Bennett): Good morning, everyone.

 

We are going to get started shortly, so I’d like to welcome everyone this morning. I guess everybody is fairly familiar with the process. We are going to start off by introducing Members of the Committee and staff members, followed by members of the Executive Council introductions. Then minister has 15 munities to speak, followed by the person in the Opposition with 15 minutes. And then we will follow with 10 minutes after.

 

Before we get started, I would like to ask for motion to accept the minutes of the Government Services Committee meeting of June 12 for the Department of Transportation and Works.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: So moved.

 

CHAIR: So moved by Ms. Conway Ottenheimer.

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Opposed?

 

Carried.

 

On motion, minutes adopted as circulated.

 

CHAIR: Under normal process, independent Members are also given opportunity to ask questions, with the approval of the Committee. Rather than asking after each line, is everyone in favour to give the independent Members some time to ask questions after each line item?

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Opposed?

 

Okay.

 

So we’ll start off now with introductions.

 

Ms. Coffin, do you mind going first?

 

Ms. Coffin: Thank you.

 

It’s Alison Coffin. I am the MHA for St. John’s East - Quidi Vidi.

 

MR. MORGAN: Ivan Morgan, Researcher, NDP caucus.

 

MR. LANE: Paul Lane, MHA, Mount Pearl - Southlands.

 

MS. DRODGE: Megan Drodge, Researcher with the Official Opposition caucus.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Helen Conway Ottenheimer for Harbour Main District.

 

MS. EVANS: Lela Evans, Torngat Mountains District.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Ches Crosbie, Windsor Lake, Leader of the Opposition.

 

MS. TUBRETT: Denise Tubrett, Deputy Chief of Staff with the Official Opposition Office.

 

MS. STOODLEY: Sarah Stoodley, MHA for Mount Scio.

 

MR. WARR: Brian Warr, MHA, Baie Verte - Green Bay.

 

MS. COADY: Siobhan Coady, MHA, St. John’s West.

 

MS. ROSS: Linda Ross, Deputy Minister, Office for the Status of Women.

 

MS. HALEY: Carol Anne Haley, Minister for the Status of Women and MHA for Burin - Grand Bank.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Wanda Trickett, Departmental Controller.

 

MS. HOLLETT: Nancy Hollett, Director of Communications for the Office for the Status of Women.

 

MS. LANE: Leanne Lane, Senior Program and Policy Development Specialist with the Office for the Status of Women.

 

MR. GEORGE: Eric George, Executive Assistant to Minister Haley.

 

MS. ELLIOTT: Susan Elliott, Executive Assistant to Minister Osborne.

 

CHAIR: Just for the purpose of Hansard, we ask that when you go to speak, make sure your light is on and then first say your name.

 

CLERK (Murphy): Subhead 2.7.01.

 

CHAIR: Minister, we will let you open up with opening remarks.

 

MS. HALEY: Good morning, everyone and thank you all for being here to participate in the Estimates for the Office of the Status of Women. You’ll have to excuse my voice; I’m nursing a very bad cold. This is new for me on this side, doing it myself as minister. I’ve been over there and I’ve sat in the Chair there, so this morning this is a little different for me, and I guess the majority of people are new here as well.

 

I’ll start by saying that I’m very proud of the work my office has undertaken in the last 12 months to advance the social, economic, cultural and legal status of the women in Newfoundland and Labrador. On November 9, 2018, the Premier announced Newfoundland and Labrador’s first stand-alone Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and on February 27, 2019, a deepened mandate for my office was created. Priorities include implementation of an all-of-government approach to Gender-based Analysis Plus, a strengthened focus on the prevention of gender-based violence and focus promotion of women in leadership roles.

 

I’ll take a few minutes to highlight some of the great work that the office has undertaken this past year in each of these areas. Although our government has been utilizing gender-based analysis for a number of years, implementation of an all-of-government approach ensures policies, programs, services, legislation and budgets will be responsive to the needs of women in our province from the very beginning of the policy development process.

 

The office is working diligently with Cabinet, executive members, directors, policy analysts and communications to support the application of Gender-Based Analysis Plus throughout the government decision-making process. I am pleased to report that the office is currently designing Newfoundland and Labrador-specific Gender-based Analysis Plus training tools to be used in concert with the federal government Gender-based Analysis Plus online training tool.

 

In addition, the office has commenced targeted and customized Gender-based Analysis Plus training with various departments across government. We look forward to continuing our work in this area to ensure women in our province are not negatively impacted by government decisions.

 

In March, I had the privilege of representing the province at the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, reconfirming the provincial government’s investment and commitment to gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of women and girls in our province. One such initiative of the Office for the Status of Women that helps us move closer to the realization of this commitment is the ongoing work of the Violence Prevention Initiative. Working collaboratively with provincial government departments and the community stakeholders to find long-term, systemic solutions to violence against those most at risk in our society is essential to the growth and progress of our province.

 

This past year marked the final year of our violence prevention action plan, Working Together for Violence-Free Communities. The office is currently exploring ways to enhance future provincial violence prevention efforts to ensure that diverse perspectives, needs and concerns are heard and incorporated into provincial violence prevention efforts moving forward. Collaboration amongst government, community, academia, business, unions and persons with lived experience is essential to advance violence prevention work in our province.

 

Despite the many advances we have collectively made over the past year, many barriers still exist to women’s equal participation in both the private and public spheres. The harsh reality is that women remain under-represented in leadership roles in Newfoundland and Labrador, which means that the province is losing out on valuable insights, talents, expertise and experience. Women deserve to live in a society where barriers to advancement are eliminated and women have equal opportunity to succeed. Encouraging and supporting women to pursue leadership opportunities in politics, business, community service and in any other field in which they are interested is a high priority of the provincial government.

 

In February, our provincial government hosted a women’s leadership conference to facilitate knowledge sharing and mentorship opportunities with women leaders. The conference was attended by 350 people and served as a springboard to launch future women’s leadership initiatives across the province.

 

If passed, Budget 2019 allows for the continuation of women’s leadership initiatives and activities across the province. The Office for the Status of Women will be working collaboratively with community partners and women’s equality-seeking organizations to identify regionally and culturally specific needs to ensure women and girls have available opportunities, tools and resources to help achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

 

Our government continues to recognize the importance of investing in community organizations that work hard to create a safer and equitable province for our residents. If passed, Budget 2019 will support continued funding for the Status of Women Councils and Violence Prevention Newfoundland and Labrador organizations across the province, the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, the Safe Harbour Outreach program, and the Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Units with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

 

I am pleased to inform you that if passed Budget 2019 will provide first-time funding to the Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth to employ a full-time support worker and core operational funding for the establishment of the province’s ninth Status of Women Council on the Northern Peninsula. Through balancing priorities and implementing gender-based policies, programs, services, legislation and budgets, our government demonstrates its commitment to the social, economic, cultural and legal advancement of all women and girls in this province.

 

As I stated earlier, I am proud of the work accomplished by the Office for the Status of Women over the past fiscal year and look very much forward to continue collaboration and partnerships with key community and governmental stakeholders to achieve our collective goal: Advancing the social, economic, cultural and legal status of all women in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Thank you, Minister.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Before I address the specific 2.7.01 heading, I would like to ask a few general questions first.

 

Minister, how many or what percentage of the recommendations from the 2015 Violence Prevention Initiative Action Plan have been implemented?

 

MS. HALEY: It’s about 96 per cent.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: You referenced the Women’s Leadership conference which occurred last year. What was the final cost of that, Minister?

 

MS. HALEY: It was $49,700, somewhere around there, give or take a few dollars.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay. Thank you.

 

MS. HALEY: That included consultations prior to the conference.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: You indicated that there are plans to have that Women’s Leadership conference, but are there any specific plans to host another conference this year?

 

MS. HALEY: Not here in the city of St. John’s. We’re planning to take it around the province and to Labrador, of course.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Will you be incorporating some of the lessons learned from last year’s conference?

 

MS. HALEY: Absolutely.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Specifically, what lessons would you think that would be?

 

MS. HALEY: I think participation and inclusion is very important, that we take a closer look at it next time.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay. Thank you.

 

MS. HALEY: Of course, the feedback that we got from the last time, we’ll take that into consideration as well.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Will all female MHAs be invited to this conference?

 

MS. HALEY: Yes.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, great. I look forward to that.

 

The Way Forward, Minister, talks about multi-year grant commitments. Can you please outline which multi-year grants commitments are in place in your department?

 

MS. HALEY: The women’s centres get multi-year grants, isn’t it – just one moment please. Sorry. Leanne will take this question.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay. Thank you.

 

MS. LANE: The St. John’s Status of Women Council and Mokami Status of Women Council are participating in the pilot multi-year funding.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Getting back to the Violence Prevention Initiative Action Plan, I note from last year that you had successfully implemented 96 per cent of the action plan. What has been done this year? You’ve indicated just a few moments ago that the number, the percentage was 96 as well.

 

MS. ROSS: Yes, as you know, we’re looking at developing a new Violence Prevention Initiative. One of the key pieces that are a priority is to have collaboration between key government departments and community stakeholders, because the one thing that we do realize is that no one department or office is responsible for ending violence.

 

What happened is there has been a meeting convened of those stakeholders, from both government and community, and the feedback from them was we need to look at the consultations that have already happened, research that has already taken place and to get a really close look at the statistics and some of the best practices federally, but where we sit statistically within the province. To that end, that piece of work is in progress right now.

 

The committee will reconvene again in the not-too-distant future to then look at that and look at where do we go from here in terms of the consultations, to look at what the priorities should be in terms of the work that we do in the next plan.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Can you please give an update, Minister, on the Intimate Partner Violence prevention program? Have all positions been filled, for example?

 

MS. ROSS: Yes, they have. Both the RNC and RCMP and the unit is very active.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay. Thank you.

 

Last year in Estimates, the deputy minister, Linda, talked about partnering with the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre on a conference which would take about three years to plan. Can you please give an update this year?

 

MS. ROSS: I’d like to defer to Leanne Lane, who leads on a lot of our work with the Indigenous –

 

MS. LANE: The Office for the Status of Women has historically provided monies for an Indigenous women’s provincial gathering. Last year and the year before, we transferred that money to the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre – currently now First Light – as they will now be the organizing partner with us for the Provincial Indigenous Women’s Conference on a go-forward basis.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: I have an understanding that there is a committee of ministers who meet to tackle issues of violence in the province. Can you please give an update on that, Minister?

 

MS. HALEY: Yes, it is a committee that I chair, and of course it’s a number of ministers across various departments across government. I know the Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, the Minister of Justice and Public Safety, the Minister of Service NL and the Minister of Health and Community Services sit on that board.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay.

 

How often do you meet and where?

 

MS. ROSS: My understanding from that committee is it is convened by various mechanisms, not always necessarily by having all of the ministers come together, but working on a one-on-one basis from what I understand. That will be happening with Minister Haley as well.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

Just a few more general questions: Can you give an update on the work which has been taking place to support pay equity legislation in the province, Minister?

 

MS. HALEY: Yes, sure.

 

Actually, my deputy minister, Linda Ross, who’s sitting next to me, actually chairs the committee on pay equity. I think the last meeting was on Thursday of last week? Tuesday?

 

MS. ROSS: Wednesday.

 

MS. HALEY: Wednesday.

 

So, if I could just defer this to Ms. Ross and she could provide an update from the meeting.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Yes, thank you.

 

MS. ROSS: Since I’ve come to the position – I haven’t been here all that long, since the middle of January – certainly this has been an issue we’ve been working on and there have been a few meetings. We had one most recently on Wednesday.

 

We have been looking and doing a jurisdictional scan of what was going on across the country, and also looking closely at how it’s being implemented on a province-by-province basis. But one of the things that we realized is right now we’re at a point where we need to bring in more expertise. So we now have reached out to others in government who can come to the table with us because we want to really look at what it’s going to mean for our own province and how to move forward.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Yes, I understand. Thank you.

 

Can you give an update on the Indigenous Women in Mining project, Minister?

 

MS. LANE: The Indigenous Women in Mining project is not a project that sits with the Office for the Status of Women. Rather, it is a project that’s actually run by Temiskaming Native Women’s Association in Northern Ontario. We have, over the past couple of years, engaged on a committee with Temiskaming, and most recently with NunatuKavut Community Council as well, as there is a project currently funded by the former Status of Women Canada, now the Department for Women and Gender Equality with the federal government.

 

We sit on that steering committee with both NunatuKavut Community Council and Temiskaming Native Women’s Association. It was never a project that belonged to the Office for the Status of Women. Rather, we’ve been a supporting department in the development of projects that both have undertaken to apply for federal monies to support that project being brought into Labrador.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: So your role is more of a supportive role.

 

MS. LANE: Absolutely.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

In your opening statement, Minister, you did reference the gender-based analysis. Can you please describe the gender-based tool specifically, which is used to analyze government policy, including this budget? So, in practical terms, how does this tool really work?

 

MS. HALEY: I don’t have the specific tool here with me. I know my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, tabled this in the House, I believe, some time ago, but I can certainly get it for you.

 

Right now, the office is currently carrying out a training program right across government. I think, to date, we have some 84 employees trained toward Gender-based Analysis Plus.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

Minister, are you planning to host any women’s economic round tables this year? If so, where, and who will be on the invite list?

 

MS. LANE: In the past, we’ve held economic round tables in St. John’s and around the province. We are currently in the process of hiring a new manager of economic policy with the Office for the Status of Women. When that individual comes on board, that individual will determine if round tables is, indeed, the way forward for us, or if there is another mechanism of which is it that we can put in place.

 

I presume that that will be done through consultations with our partners, as it has in the past, such as the Office to Advance Women Apprentices.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

And my final general question is: Can the minister, please, give an overview of the women’s shelters in the province, and how does the demand of them match the capacity they have, for example?

 

MS. ROSS: Within your binder, you should have the information that actually gives you the location or the name of each of the particular women’s shelters.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: I don’t believe we have the binder.

 

MS. ROSS: Once you get your binder, sorry. This is very new to me, so I’m not sure what you have in advance.

 

The women’s shelters, as you know, existed in a number of communities across the province, including in St. John’s, and they do a lot of front-line work and they do advocacy work. Some of our women shelters also have attached to them accommodation facilities where women stay on a somewhat temporary basis. They are women who have a number of challenges.

 

The kinds of supports that they provide differ from women’s centre to women’s centre. Some of them are able to offer much more in the way of supports and programming because they access other funding through, for example, the federal government or other initiatives; but the kind of program they do varies, everything from doing educational work in the schools on violence against women and girls, about consent, doing front-line work with women who have difficultly navigating systems, for example, around housing or social supports that they require. So it does vary, but there are a lot of things they do have in common but there are differences in them.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

What happens, actually, when the women’s shelters are full, when there is no capacity?

 

MS. ROSS: There are two types of women’s shelters. The women’s centres, which have some housing with them, are for women who, as I said, have different challenges. The other types of shelter that we have within the province are our transition houses for women who are fleeing situations of violence.

 

There are also additional types of shelters that are there, so with Stella’s Circle, for example – and these are not necessarily getting funding through our office but from government. So there are particular shelters that women can go to depending on, for example, their age, depending on whether or not they’re fleeing violence or other kinds of challenges that they have.

 

I hope that answered your question.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Yes, thank you very much.

 

Okay, going to section 2.7.01 under Minister’s Office. The Minister’s Office is new. Minister, can you please give an explanation of how these budget numbers were calculated?

 

MS. HALEY: Linda.

 

MS. ROSS: As you know, the minister was appointed, as she indicated in her speech, at the beginning of November. So if you look in the column projected revised budget, this is for a portion of the fiscal year since the minister came on and then of course what you see is the budget projection for – it reflects the increase due to the creation of the office. The notes are on the side. What you see in 2018-19 is only a portion of the fiscal year because the office was only in existence with the minister for that short period of time.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Your time has expired.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thanks.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you very much.

 

I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to be here this morning and all the hard work that I know goes into the preparation of these Estimates. So thank you, everyone, for your participation in this process.

 

Let’s start with numbers first. I’m going to move on to Office for the Status of Women, Salaries, I notice there’s almost an extra $250,000 in Salaries in this current Estimate compared to last years and there was a little bit of underspending last year.

 

Is there an intention to have even more positions at the Office for the Status of Women? If so, what are the nature and type of them?

 

MS. ROSS: Well, the figure that you’re referring to reflects an increase from ’18-’19 due to annualization, as the notes indicate. We have a new communications director which we didn’t have before. There were some changes in terms of staffing within the office over the past year, but we are in the process, right now, of hiring two new positions. As my colleague indicated, we are looking for a manager for economic policy and we’re also looking for an additional position of policy analyst for our office.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Professional Services, I notice there’s an extra $50,000 added in that. Is that the RCMP Intimate Partner Violence prevention unit?

 

MS. ROSS: As indicated, you’ll see in the notes that you received, that is an additional $50,000 for the gender-based analysis work for our leadership initiatives and for violence prevention work.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. So, the RCMP Intimate Partner Violence prevention unit – we are funding this, yes?

 

MS. ROSS: Yes, we are.

 

MS. COFFIN: Where would we find that?

 

MS. ROSS: Yeah, it’s in that same one.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yeah. It’s under Professional Services, yes?

 

MS. ROSS: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, lovely. Thank you very much.

 

Can we have an update on their activities?

 

MS. LANE: We don’t have that information here with us today but we can most definitely get it for you this afternoon.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’d be wonderful. Thank you very much.

 

The additional funding that we’re seeing in that line is for – I’m sorry, again?

 

MS. ROSS: That is for the gender-based analysis training –

 

MS. COFFIN: Right, the gender-based analysis. Yes, thank you.

 

MS. ROSS: – and some of the more leadership work as well as violence prevention.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent. Thank you.

 

Grants and Subsidies, 2.7.02.10, I notice we’re down by about $210,000. Was something cut or an initiative cut?

 

MS. ROSS: No. In point of fact, as you recall, I spoke to the fact that some of the women’s centres have a shelter component to them. They were moved over to Newfoundland and Labrador Housing with money. Plus, one of the other pieces in there is the establishment of – should the budget pass – a new women’s centre on the Northern Peninsula is incorporated in there.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

MS. LANE: So, no it wasn’t, in fact, cut.

 

MS. COFFIN: So there was a big chunk that came out but then you added a little bit back in for the Northern Peninsula?

 

MS. LANE: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

Revenue, I noticed that revised from ’18-’19 we got $2,200 in. Where does revenue come from in the Office for the Status of Women?

 

MS. LANE: The revenue that you’re seeing there is we provide grants to our Violence Prevention NL organizations. One of the organizations was not staffed for a portion of the year so they had revenue. They are allowed to keep 10 per cent of the funding which we provide. The $2,200 there that was returned to us was over and above that 10 per cent of their funding.

 

MS. COFFIN: Lovely. Thank you.

 

Can we have a list of all the organizations and amounts of grants in 2018-19 and anticipated ’19-’20, please?

 

MS. LANE: Sure, I’ll get that to you today, Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent.

 

Can you also tell me which organizations now receive multi-year core funding?

 

MS. LANE: We have two women’s centres that receive multi-year core funding: the St. John’s Status of Women Council and Mokami Status of Women Council.

 

MS. COFFIN: Lovely. Thank you.

 

Let’s go to some general questions now. The violence prevention action plan, we had a little bit of an overview but maybe you can get into a bit more detail on the activities of the ministerial committee against addressing violence against women and girls. Was that just meetings at this point or has anything been established along the way?

 

MS. ROSS: The ministerial committee, as was indicated by Minister Haley, is made up of many ministers, and when I spoke earlier about having an advisory committee that’s made up of key government departments, it basically is very similar. As we know, when you’re talking about violence it impacts all of these different departments.

 

When we have had consultations with community partners, community stakeholders, one of the things that always comes forward is if we’re going to address violence we must look at this department, that department and what within those departments can be done or what is within their mandate that they’re working on that is going to help eradicate violence. This committee is basically to look at the progress on that work. That’s my understanding.

 

MS. COFFIN: Can you give me an updated prevalence statistic? Do you have such a thing with you; prevalence of violence, in particular, violence against women?

 

MS. ROSS: Actually, I’m hoping that we can do that for you very shortly with the research that I referenced earlier.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent.

 

This is related, I was just wondering how effective has the plan been, and what data is being used to analyze that? Because we often have swings in violence and violent incidents when we see recessions or we see depressed economic conditions, especially people without jobs. So, as our economy has been slowing down and we’re seeing higher rates of insolvency, we’re seeing higher rates of unemployment, we’re seeing just a general depressed economy, I’m just wondering how effective this plan has been, and what data is being used to calculate that?

 

MS. ROSS: I think one of the things that is challenging is to do a direct link between the actual initiatives of the Violence Prevention Initiative and the statistical data, because the statistical data that we work with is often what is reported through a lot of our federal and some of our provincial statisticians.

 

As I said, we are now looking at where the prevalence is, within which populations, because one of the things that frequently happens is once something gets said, it gets reiterated and we really need to ensure that when that happens that we’re working on evidence based, and we are actually working with the statistics. So, as referenced, that piece of research is well under way right now.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. So you’re saying you’re hoping for data soon?

 

MS. ROSS: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: This is wonderful.

 

The Aboriginal women’s network and conference, can we have an update on their activities, please?

 

MS. LANE: The Office for the Status of Women funds has provided core funding to the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network for a number of years now. The violence prevention Indigenous women’s gathering was held in November of last year. There is a great deal of work that’s taking place right now and looking at violence against women in Indigenous communities as well as mental health.

 

As I said earlier, we provide a grant to First Light to help organize that conference on the office’s behalf, and we are currently working with the steering committee that we have in place to organize this year’s gathering. We’re anticipating that this year’s gathering will either be held the end of October or the first week of November this year.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

What gender-based analysis training was done in 2018 and what is planned for 2019?

 

MS. LANE: Gender-based analysis training; we have done several sessions and we can certainly get the departments and agencies that we’ve worked with in government that we’ve trained in 2018-’19. We’ve really focused our attention on rolling out that plan in this fiscal year. With additional monies that we’ve been provided in Budget 2019, should it be passed, it will help us roll out those training sessions and certainly help us develop those tools that we have in place right now, and further develop those tools to develop Newfoundland and Labrador-specific training components.

 

We can certainly get you a list of all of the departments and agencies trained to date this past fiscal year and, currently, in the new part of this fiscal year.

 

MS. COFFIN: Appreciate that. Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin, your time has expired. We’ll get back to you shortly.

 

Any other questions?

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Yes, I have just three or four more final questions.

 

First of all, this is under section 2.7.02 under Salaries. In ’18-’19 there was a Salaries savings of $122,300. Can the minister please outline why that is the case.

 

MS. HALEY: That reflects savings from 2018-2019 budget as a result of some vacancies throughout the year.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

Under Purchased Services, what purchased services does this department use, Minister?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Purchased Services for the office include some basic charges such as printing charges, shredding and record storage. If there was a consultation held that required meeting space, those type charges would be charged to Purchased Services.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

I note that there’s a savings of $22,900 in the ’19-’20 fiscal year. How are you planning to save that money?

 

MS. TRICKETT: There was money allocated in the budget associated with the Intimate Partner Violence Initiative and that wasn’t really representative of where the costs were anticipated to be spent for ’19-’20. All we’ve done is actually reprofiled that money to other line objects across the office to better reflect where we expect those expenditures to come in.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay. Thank you.

 

Finally, under Grants and Subsidies, I note that, Minister, you’ve indicated that there will be a list provided – when my colleague asked – with respect to the funding. Is this list the same year over year?

 

MS. ROSS: There are core partners who are funded on an annual basis. As I indicated previously, should the budget pass there will be a new one; there was also mention in the minister’s speech about should the budget pass, the Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth. We also have grants to Indigenous women’s anti-violence work. Indigenous women apply for those grants and use them for particular programs. It varies, but it is often the same groups and the same partners.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

What are the criteria for determining who gets a grant?

 

MS. LANE: In terms of our violence prevention NL organizations, they were part of the Violence Prevention Initiative core funding plans when that plan first rolled out back in the early 2000s. In terms of the eight women’s centres, those have historically also been funded by the Office for the Status of Women.

 

In terms of any specific criteria that are looked at for additional organizations that we fund, we basically have done – as Ms. Ross has indicated earlier, we’re working with all of our community organizations to determine where needs lie in terms of violence prevention, economic security and leadership initiatives. Based on the need that our province, our community organizations have identified at a point in time that’s needed for the women in our province in order to advance status, that is what we have used to determine whether or not funding has been provided.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Okay, thank you.

 

My final question: What accountability mechanisms are in place to follow up on how these funds are spent?

 

MS. LANE: Each of the organizations that are provided core funding by the Office for the Status of Women are required to submit annual reports prior to funding being released. After the interim funding is provided, organizations are required in February to submit a work plan for the following year, and, as I said, annual reports are submitted to us by April 30 of that fiscal year.

 

MS. CONWAY OTTENHEIMER: Those are all my questions.

 

First of all, I should have stated this at the outset that I am substituting for Barry Petten, who’s the MHA for Conception Bay South. I would like to, as well, thank the minister and her officials for the obvious dedicated efforts that you put into the positions that you hold and for the answers to these questions today. It’s been a very useful exercise and I thank you.

 

CHAIR: Thank you, Helen.

 

Any further questions, Ms. Coffin?

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes. There’s my light. Excellent.

 

Your office was developing an equity profile on the status of women in this province as part of developing gender-inclusive policies, legislation, programs and services. Is this profile available?

 

MS. LANE: That equity profile has indeed been completed. If you would like a copy, you are more than welcome.

 

MS. COFFIN: Lovely. Would appreciate that, please.

 

Can we have an update on the leadership initiatives begun in 2018, please?

 

MS. LANE: The core leadership initiatives that we held in past fiscal year was, indeed, our women’s leadership conference. Consultations held with a number of women’s organizations and public consultations – and I’ll use the word consultation very loosely, but it was engagement sessions with all our of women’s equality-seeking organizations and the public to determine what is needed in order to help eliminate barriers for women in leadership and how we best move forward in order to do so.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’s excellent. So what is needed?

 

MS. LANE: We’re still looking at that and our consultations with those organizations are still ongoing. There have been no conclusive measures determined at this point in time. We have a fair idea but we are still in that engagement process.

 

MS. COFFIN: When might we expect to have that?

 

MS. LANE: The engagement process completed?

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes.

 

MS. LANE: Likely by the fall.

 

MS. COFFIN: Wonderful. Thank you very much.

 

Let’s go to gender analysis now. I’m assuming that there has been a gender analysis of the 2019-2020 budget, in particular, on new spending. How did majorish initiatives, like Grieg and Canopy Growth, fare in their gender analysis? Were there any particular issues identified in either one of those?

 

MS. ROSS: As you’re aware, one of the things that we look at is women’s employment plans and gender-equity plans. One of the things that we do in our office is we review all of those and look at where the opportunities are for the employment for the impacts that are on women, and they’re treated as are all of the plans that come to us.

 

MS. COFFIN: So, in particular, with Grieg, did we find anything that was anomalous? Were they gender equitable in their employment? Was there any negative effects for the women that are left in the community? Like, for example, if both mom and dad got a job at the plant or at the aquaculture facility, was that leaving Nan at home taking care of small children?

 

MS. ROSS: We don’t have that specific information.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. Good enough.

 

Let’s move on to women in poverty, in particular, minimum wage. Is there any move to increase minimum wage beyond the annual CPI increase? In doing such a thing, we find that CPI going up by whatever amount as well as every other salary going up by proportional amounts, it’s actually going to keep women in the same level of poverty proportionally.

 

So we actually need higher increases in the minimum wage rate if we want to move people out of poverty. We know that more women than men tend to be earning minimum wage. Has there been any movement on that?

 

MS. ROSS: The responsibility for minimum wage doesn’t fall within the Office for the Status of Women, it falls within another department.

 

MS. COFFIN: Is there an initiative in the Status of Women to certainly move that forward as a thing that would improve women’s lives?

 

MS. ROSS: We work on a number of initiatives that looks at how do we have women raised up from poverty in terms of the kinds of occupations they get into, what kinds of supports they need, looking at them getting into higher wage positions. As indicated, employment plans are another piece of it, but, as indicated, when it comes to minimum wage, that falls totally within another department.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. Let’s talk about equal pay and pay equity.

 

There is a distinction between equal pay for work of equal value versus equal pay for people doing the same job. The much more predominant and much more effective one would be moving towards equal pay for work of equal value. Is there any appetite for moving to that type of model in this office?

 

MS. ROSS: As I mentioned earlier, the pay equity committee is very active looking at all of the different options that are out there, really looking at what the implications are, how they would apply in our province and what other provinces have done as well. That work is ongoing right now.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Let’s have a chat now about large projects. Certainly, we have seen the negative effects that large scale projects have had on our communities and our province. When we have done a lot of analysis on the effectiveness of bringing in large scale investment, quite often we forget to look at some of the economic bads, or some of the negative things that come as a result of that.

 

Some of the things that we have seen in our society that has come as a result of that have been the increase in the number of gangs, an increase in opioid use, an increase in sex work. Certainly along these lines, has there been a move to incorporate a more detailed and comprehensible analysis of these types of things into some of our megaprojects? Of course, many of these things would, of course, disproportionately effect women as well.

 

MS. ROSS: Certainly in terms of some of what you referenced, given that we are specifically looking at finances in this session, as you’ll note, we do support the Safe Harbour Outreach Program, which does work with individuals who are involved in the sex trade. SHOP – as the acronym is – are partners of ours and we receive consultation. They provide an update on what they’re seeing in terms of the clientele that they’re working with in terms of the impacts of various issues and what’s going on in community.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent.

 

Spring boarding off of that, given the prevalence of sex work, which again is predominantly female dominated, has there been a consideration in the office to move or co-operate with whatever authorities need to be co-operated with for the legalization, taxation and health improvement of anyone working in that particular industry?

 

MS. ROSS: This is an issue that is of concern to the office and we are, as I indicated earlier, in consultation with those who work with individuals involved in the sex trade. So, SHOP, as well as another community partner, Thrive, which oversees the coalition against the sexual exploitation of youth and the Blue Door Project, both of which work with individuals who are in the sex trade or being sexually exploited and have expressed a desire to leave that.

 

We are also involved with other stakeholders, because one of the major concerns that we all share is ensuring the safety of those who are involved. What can be done to ensure that they are safe, that their health is being looked after, et cetera, so those conversations happen on a frequent basis and there are meetings in that regard.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Can we have an update on the Gender Equity and Diversity Plans and Women’s Employment Plans for major projects? For example, what employers have you been working with?

 

MS. LANE: We don’t have that information here with us on hand, we can have it for you this afternoon.

 

MS. COFFIN: Wonderful; appreciate that.

 

I do believe one of my final questions, I had a grand chat to some people at Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, one of the programs they administer is the Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement. They were underspent last year because they had some difficulty reaching out to women who were eligible for the project.

 

Are you coordinating efforts with them?

 

MS. ROSS: We do on a number of different issues; however, I have to say, I hadn’t heard that, but certainly we’ll follow up. Thank you.

 

MS. COFFIN: I would recommend that because that’s a very important one.

 

Thank you very much.

 

CHAIR: Any further questions before I give Mr. Lane an opportunity to speak, or ask questions? None.

 

Mr. Lane.

 

MR. LANE Yes, thank you.

 

I just got a couple of questions, because pretty much everything has been covered off pretty good.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

MR. LANE: You’re welcome.

 

One question I do have relates to, I guess, your efforts as it relates to violence, violence against women, in particular, obviously. We do know that there can be violence the other way around too, but, predominantly, it’s men against women.

 

I’m just wondering, in the work that you’re doing in targeting violence against women, and I know you work with a number of women’s organizations and so on, but what efforts have been made to try to reach out to men on this issue? Because if they’re the ones that are generally the perpetrators, then I think that, you know, there’s a lot of value, and I’ve been to a number of sessions in the past, and it’s been talked about, that there absolutely is a need for men who are not violent to step up, if you will, and get involved and support the cause. So, I’m just wondering what efforts or initiatives is made by your office to reach out to men to be part of the solution?

 

MS. ROSS: I think that’s an excellent point, and it’s one that we are very aware of. Some of us have been saying that for a very long time.

 

One of the things – and I will ask my colleague, Leanne, to confirm this, but through our grants program, we have funded Indigenous men to allow them the funding to be able to do workshops on this particular issue. I know that did happen in the past, so I’ll ask her in a moment to speak to that. Certainly, that’s one of the issues that’s coming out in this consultation that we’ve had where we’ve got the advisory committee of community and government.

 

The partners that we have at First Light are big proponents also of engaging men in ending violence. As people may know, our Indigenous partners across the country have led the way in things like the Moose Hide Campaign and I am a Good Man, et cetera, and I know there is an interest in ensuring that that continues. We will be working to engage men, by all means.

 

Now I’ll turn it to Leanne.

 

MS. LANE: As Ms. Ross has said, we’ve done a great deal of work with our Indigenous partners in terms of Violence Prevention Grants that have been awarded specifically for the engagement of men and boys in finding long-term solutions to violence within Indigenous communities to ensure that the solutions are, indeed, culturally appropriate.

 

Aside from that and building on that, this past year I’m sure that you have all seen the MerB’ys Calendar. The MerB’ys Calendar, for those who don’t know, it’s an organization ran by Hasan Hai who is the president of Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club. The calendar actually this year – the Violence Prevention NL organization was chosen as the recipient of the profits and proceeds of the sales of the calendar.

 

Our Office for the Status of Women assisted very heavily in the development of the proposal which was selected, and the core topic and the project that’s unveiling around the province right now is about indeed deconstructing toxic masculinity and engaging men and boys in long-term solutions to violence.

 

So, aside from and in addition to and complementary to the work that’s ongoing within our Indigenous communities, we also have our Violence Prevention NL organizations who were awarded over $200,000 from the sales of the MerB’ys Calendar that are specifically targeting initiatives and activities across the province to engage men and boys of violence prevention efforts.

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, thank you for that. That’s a good initiative and I do believe I did hear of Mr. Hai before somewhere.

 

I’m wondering now about pay equity. It’s already been sort of referenced, but it seems to me that I’ve been hearing about pay equity forever. Maybe I dreamt it, but it seems like, for a long time, I’ve been hearing about pay equity, pay equity. Now we’re hearing that you have a committee, you had your meeting – I believe, you indicated, Ms. Ross, that you were looking at bringing in some more expertise or something because you had determined that needed to happen.

 

It’s great that we’re working on it. I’m not knocking that. I realize, perhaps, you’re new to the process and the minister is new, but the process of pay equity and the talking about pay equity has been happening, like I said, forever. At what point in time do we think that we might see some actual movement beyond talking about pay equity?

 

MS. ROSS: Thank you.

 

Yes, it has been going on and it does take a great deal of time. I think the one thing that has become increasingly clear in the process of doing this is that this is far from simple. It is very complex in terms of setting pay equity up. This is not solely my opinion, but it’s what we have seen from the research that we’ve done and looking and talking with colleagues across the country in terms of what needs to be taken into consideration, how you go about doing that, the questions that need to be answered in terms of what it’s going to look like. Specifically, what it is we intend to do?

 

It’s not something that can happen quickly. Our hope is that by adding this expertise that we will be considerably further along because we’ve now reached a point where we know what some of the challenging questions are and that we need to present that and to bring that forward.

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

I don’t mean this to sound wrong, but it sounds like we’re going to be talking about it for quite some time to come before we see any actual implementation. That’s what it sounds like to me, and you can correct me if I’m wrong.

 

MS. ROSS: Well, as I said, we’re hoping to really have something to bring forward for consideration by government. We’re looking to be much further along in terms of the presentation and the work we’re going to do over the summer, for example. But, even after that point, implementation of it is not something that happens quickly. If you look at what’s happening in other jurisdictions, for example, where implementation of it is, some of them are taking three years to get it in place, once they’ve kind of decided that they’re going to do it. So it is a lengthy process by all means.

 

MR. LANE: Indeed. Thank you.

 

I am wondering about the whole concept of applying gender lenses to policies and so on that the minister referenced. And I know somebody asked about the tool and it was indicated that you didn’t have the tool itself available right now, but you could probably get it.

 

Can you just walk me through the mechanics of what that means? Like, when I hear someone say, we applied a gender lens to policies, what specifically – just the mechanics of how does that work with a piece of legislation, for argument’s sake.

 

MS. ROSS: Certainly. I didn’t speak to it earlier because, as I indicated, I only came in the middle of January, so I can speak to what’s happened since that time.

 

MR. LANE: Sure.

 

MS. ROSS: People talk about it, you’re quite right, and really don’t necessarily know what it means or how it actually applies to the work that they do. We have done a lot of work to try to change that.

 

As I think the minister indicated when she gave her opening remarks, what it’s really taken is taking specific groups within government – for example, people in communications, what does that mean for the work that we do? Each session is tailor-made and it consists of something as simple as going through, at the very outset, things that are true or false. A lot of what we actually espouse as being true, people find out it’s false in terms of just assumptions.

 

Then the person who’s doing the training takes the mandate letter of the minister and looks at what’s within that. I’ll take, for example, any particular department; it’s difficult to imagine how to apply a gender lens. Well, our staff are actually working with them on a step-by-step, using examples of this is what it means, this is how you do it so that when you’re developing this, when you’re developing a program, when you’re developing a policy, whatever you’re doing, this is what you need to think about. This is how you have to view it because you cannot assume that everybody is impacted in the same way.

 

It’s by doing these – and also, the other piece that we have been doing, the staff are to be credited because what they do is they actually are receiving calls, they offer the support and help people in departments who are calling and saying, okay, I’m doing this, am I on the right track? What do I need to do? What questions do I need to ask here? It really is having a significant impact.

 

MR. LANE: That’s good. Glad to hear that.

 

My final question around the same thing, I suppose, to some degree, is in terms of the filling of positions on agencies, boards, commissions and so on. I know we’ve heard that the gender lens has been applied but I know my colleagues with the NDP – or my former colleagues with the NDP – there were times when bills would come up around that, people being appointed to certain roles. They would always bring up and ask the question about the gender lens and nobody could concretely say for sure exactly, yeah, that was necessarily done to ensure equity in the hiring of people for the filling of positions.

 

Is it safe to say that whenever there are positions appointed now in all agencies, boards, commissions that is indeed happening, as opposed to, yeah, I think it’s happening, I’m sure it’s happening. Is there a policy? Is it absolutely happening?

 

MS. ROSS: I don’t sit at the Independent Appointments Commission table and it is, by its very nature, separate and independent. We always say that we need more women at the decision-making tables; we’re always very clear about that. I think that’s a consistent message that many people reiterate.

 

One of the things that we need – and it will be part of the work that we do on leadership – is to encourage more women to put their names forward. One of the challenges that we face is, many times, women don’t put their names forward for it because they somehow don’t think they’re qualified, or they perhaps only feel 90 per cent of what they’re looking for, so they self-select out.

 

It certainly has been brought to our attention that one of the critical issues is to really help women to see how the skills they have are transferable, to being able to put their name forward for the various agencies, boards and commissions that have openings. That is one of the pieces that we’re intending to do as part of our leadership work.

 

MR. LANE: Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Your time has expired.

 

Are there any other questions to 2.7.01 to 2.7.03?

 

CLERK: 2.7.01 to 2.7.03 inclusive.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.7.01 to 2.7.03 inclusive carry?

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

On motion, subheads 2.7.01 through 2.7.03 carried.

 

CLERK: 3.1.01.

 

CHAIR: Okay, we’re going to discuss 3.1.01 to 3.1.02.

 

CLERK: They’ll have to switch out.

 

CHAIR: Okay, switching over.

 

While we’re switching over we’ll take a five-minute break, if anybody needs to. In the interest of time we will start again at 10:18.

 

Recess

 

CHAIR: Can we get a microphone for Mr. Crosbie, please?

 

MR. CROSBIE: As I was saying, Mr. Chairman, I’m substituting for Loyola O’Driscoll, the Member for Ferryland District. Shall I continue or –

 

CHAIR: No.

 

MR. CROSBIE: – do you need someone else on the –?

 

CHAIR: I will ask the Member to your right.

 

MS. TUBRETT: My name is Denise Tubrett. I’m the Deputy Chief of Staff with the Official Opposition.

 

MR. LANE: Paul Lane, MHA, Mount Pearl - Southlands.

 

MS. COFFIN: Alison Coffin, MHA, St. John’s East - Quidi Vidi.

 

MR. MORGAN: Ivan Morgan, Researcher, NDP Caucus.

 

MR. LOVELESS: Elvis Loveless, MHA, Fortune Bay - Cape La Hune.

 

MR. WARR: Brian Warr, MHA, Baie Verte - Green Bay.

 

MS. STOODLEY: Sarah Stoodley, MHA, Mount Scio.

 

MR. WAKEHAM: Tony Wakeham, MHA, Stephenville - Port au Port.

 

MS. EVANS: Lela Evans, MHA, Torngat Mountains.

 

CHAIR: We’re going to use the same process. The minister will be given the opportunity to introduce his Executive Council and then we’ll give you 15 minutes to speak, followed by the Member for the Opposition to also have 15 minutes. Then each Member will have 10 minutes after that.

 

Mr. Osborne.

 

MR. OSBORNE: Tom Osborne, Minister of Finance, President of the Treasury Board. I will ask staff now to introduce themselves as well.

 

MS. DAY: Elizabeth Day, Clerk of the Executive Council.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Wanda Trickett, Departmental Controller.

 

MS. HUSSEY: Cindy Hussey, Assistant Deputy Clerk.

 

MS. NORMAN: Katie Norman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Engagement.

 

MR. BROWN: David Brown, Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor.

 

MR. BRUCE: Glenn Bruce, Associate Secretary to Cabinet, Communications.

 

MS. ELLIOTT: Susan Elliott, Executive Assistant to the minister.

 

MR. BARFOOT: Scott Barfoot, Director of Communications, Communications and Consultation Branch.

 

CLERK: 1.1.01.

 

CHAIR: 1.1.01.

 

Mr. Osborne.

 

MR. OSBORNE: Thank you.

 

Before we begin I’d like to take a few moments to make some high-level remarks about Executive Council as a whole. The Office of Executive Council of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is the Premier’s department and plays a critical role in supporting the effective operation of government.

 

The Executive Council’s three key roles are: Leadership, coordination and the provision of advice and support. Many of the activities focus on ensuring informed, effective decision-making and public sector management. These activities support the strategic priorities of government and ultimately contribute to the development and delivery of public services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

The mandate of the OEC is to support the Premier’s office and the work of Cabinet and its committees; to facilitate, coordinate and support the Cabinet decision-making process; formulate orders and communicate decisions of Cabinet; to facilitate and coordinate advice and initiatives on matters related to economic policy, social policy and government operations; to facilitate and coordinate performance-based planning and reporting throughout government and its public bodies; to facilitate and coordinate the Regulatory Reform Initiative and the policy on evaluation; to support the role of the Lieutenant Governor; to advise on protocol matters; to provide strategic communications counsel and support to the Premier and Cabinet and coordinate government-wide communication activities; and to provide leadership of the provincial public service to ensure that the government has the policy, human resource and management capacity it needs to develop and deliver effective policies and programs.

 

While the Executive Council is the Premier’s department, there are some portions of it that report to me in my role as the Minister of Finance. These are the Human Resources Secretariat and the OCIO. When we get to these departments, I’ll make a few remarks around those departments as well.

 

We’ll open it up for questions.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Crosbie.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay, thank you, and thank you to the minister.

 

I’m looking at – as you read out, Mr. Chairman – 1.1.01, Government House, Lieutenant Governor’s Establishment, as we tend to say, I guess. The first one that jumps out is the salary item. The obvious question is: Can you explain why Salaries went over budget by $126,000 in fiscal ’18-’19?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The overrun from ’18-’19 represents severance and related benefits for two management employees, as well as there were a few vacancies throughout the year.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Sorry, I didn’t hear the last few words.

 

MS. TRICKETT: There were some vacancies throughout the year as well. That offset the payment of severance and related benefits for the two employees.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Sorry, I’m not sure of the connection between the vacancies and the severance. What’s that?

 

MS. TRICKETT: There was a small amount of vacancies through the year that did reduce down the overrun associated with the severance and related benefits.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes, well, still, it’s $126,000.

 

MS. TRICKETT: The majority of that relates to severance and related benefits for two employees.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What’s the net number?

 

MS. TRICKETT: It was $148,500 related to severance and related benefits, which was slightly reduced by $22,500 for vacancies, to net down to the $126,000.

 

MR. CROSBIE: In a similar vein, the budget for Transportation and Communications has increased. Could an explanation be given as to why that is?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The majority of that over increase from budget to budget relates to the carrying costs and the ongoing costs associated with Wi-Fi costs for the Government House.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So the whole place is ‘Wi-Fied’ out, is it?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes. During the fiscal year ’18-’19, Wi-Fi was installed at Government House. There is an installation cost that you will notice as an increase in a line item under Purchased Services; I’m sure that may be a question as we go further.

 

The budget increase in Transportation and Communications relates to the ongoing monthly related costs associated with that Wi-Fi.

 

MR. CROSBIE: That fits under Communications that bit.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: And the Purchased Services, the Wi-Fi installation, shows up in there as well, that increase?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Anything else? What accounts for the extra, what is it, $21,300? Wi-Fi and what else?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The Purchased Services line itself will include such costs as printing charges, shredding costs, those basic operational amounts, but the overrun from ’18-’19 is associated mainly due to the installation of the Wi-Fi.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Boy, an expensive service.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes and I can probably refer a little bit to the Office of the Chief Information Officer on that. My understanding is considering the nature of the house, the age and the structure, I do believe that installation in that facility is much more onerous than it would be in a more modern office building.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I can understand if it’s challenging.

 

Where does liquor purchasing fit in – liquor, wine and beer? I am not meaning to be critical; we know that one of the purposes of the place is entertainment. Where does it fit?

 

MS. Trickett: I am going to defer that to Dave Brown.

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, Sir, thank you.

 

Liquor purchasing is not a provincial responsibility, it’s a federal responsibility.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I never knew that.

 

Can you provide a list of purchasers, please?

 

MS. Trickett: You mean the list of actually spent for ’18-’19?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

MS. Trickett: I don’t have that specific detail with me, but I can certainly provide it to you.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yeah, that would be fine.

 

MS. Trickett: Okay.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

The Lieutenant-Governors attend a yearly conference and so does the Governor General. Does the federal government pay for that?

 

MS. Trickett: Again, I’ll defer that to Dave Brown, please.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Mr. Brown?

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, Sir, it does.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Very well.

 

As we know, the salary of the Lieutenant-Governor is paid by the federal government as well.

 

MR. BROWN: That’s correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’d ask the overall budget for the Government House?

 

MR. BROWN: From the federal –?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, no, what we are looking at here that you are responsible for.

 

MR. BROWN: Wanda?

 

MS. Trickett: I’m sorry. Could you repeat your question?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Who drafts it, the budget?

 

MS. Trickett: That is done in consultation with the Lieutenant-Governor, the clerk of the Executive Council and the premier.

 

MR. CROSBIE: But who initiates and is really doing this piece of paper here with the numbers?

 

MS. Trickett: I am the Departmental Controller for that area.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes – you?

 

MS. Trickett: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay.

 

Where does the maintenance budget for the property fit in here?

 

MS. Trickett: I am going to defer that to Dave Brown as well.

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, Sir, it fits within the Transportation and Works budget somewhere. I couldn’t be specific on it.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay.

 

So it’s not in these numbers we are seeing here?

 

MR. BROWN: No, that’s correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I see. It’d be of some substance given the age of the property, the size of it and so on and so forth, but it’s not in front of us now.

 

MR. BROWN: That’s correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Given the province’s fiscal situation – I will not bother reciting that – was consideration given to reducing the budget at Government House?

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, Sir, the budget has been reduced over the past three, four, even five years.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m sorry; you said the budget was reduced?

 

MR. BROWN: That is correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay, very good.

 

I’m finished on this 1.1.01.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you very much.

 

I was going to ask about the capital cost but I can find that in Transportation and Works. You’re not exactly sure where that is in Trans and Works? Yes?

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, that’s correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. I can try and dig that out.

 

Can I have a breakdown of the number of staff and their positions at Government House, please?

 

MR. BROWN: We have my position, we have an events manager, we have a clerk typist III and we have three domestic workers: a gardener, a chef and two contractual workers.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent. Thank you very much.

 

I’ve done a couple of these now and I’ve noticed several different departments have approached the attrition model in different ways. Has there been any attrition in the Government House?

 

MS. DAY: With respect to attrition, I can say that we are addressing that across all of the offices. I know that HRS is going to speak specifically to attrition and the general policy and how we are moving forward with attrition.

 

With respect to Government House, yes there has been. They have had savings as a result of attrition.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, thank you very much.

 

So that answer now goes across all your department in terms of how they have approached attrition? Because I’m glancing at some of this now and I don’t see a whole lot of attrition happening, just glancing at some of these pieces.

 

MS. DAY: Right, we are approaching it, generally, across the offices within Executive Council and we have had savings at Cabinet Secretariat, the Communications Branch, as well as Government House.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, do you know how many positions you’ve attrited?

 

MS. DAY: Not positions particularly, we have salary-dollar savings. Within Cabinet Secretariat there has been $40,000 this year and last, within the Communications Branch there has been a total $80,000 this year and last and about $15,000 at Government House.

 

MS. COFFIN: You say there are salary decreases but not position decreases, so does this mean that someone was laid off at a more senior position and a junior person was hired in their place?

 

MS. DAY: No, there have been no individuals affected or positions. It’s basically vacancies that are being held to account for the savings.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, so those positions are not being written down even though they’re not filled.

 

MS. DAY: That’s correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: If we haven’t had them filled in a year, perhaps they are unnecessary?

 

MS. DAY: That is certainly under review as well and we take that into account when we are looking at filling positions.

 

MS. COFFIN: Good enough.

 

Thank you very much. That’s all my questions.

 

CHAIR: Any other questions?

 

Mr. Crosbie?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Not on that item, no.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Lane, have you got any questions?

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of quick ones.

 

I am just wondering, Operating Accounts is basically $100,000 a year. So what is that? What’s covered in that?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’m sorry; could you repeat your question?

 

MR. LANE: The Operating Accounts, $100,000.

 

OFFICIAL: That’s the total of everything above that.

 

MR. LANE: Oh, that’s the total of everything above it. Okay, never mind.

 

When the Lieutenant-Governor travels around the province or out of the province for that matter, $36,500, that’s the total cost for travel, or are there other sources of funding federally or something that covers that? Because that seems fairly low to me.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Her travel would be reflected under the federal budget.

 

MR. LANE: Under the federal, okay.

 

Right now there’s $742,000 provincially. That’s not including what would be under Transportation and Works for maintenance and upkeep and whatever other services would be provided there. So, likely that takes us to a million or thereabouts provincially. How much do we get from the feds on top of that to pay for Government House in general?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’ll defer to Dave Brown on that.

 

MR. BROWN: The Office of the Lieutenant-Governor receives an annual grant from the federal government of approximately $77,000. That covers the Lieutenant-Governor’s travel around the province and outside when it’s required, as well as other ceremonial functions that are required to be supported.

 

MR. LANE: Okay, $77,000.

 

MR. BROWN: That’s correct.

 

MR. LANE: So what else does the federal government pay for? They pay her salary and what else?

 

MR. BROWN: Yes, the federal government pays the Lieutenant-Governor a salary.

 

MR. LANE: Yeah.

 

MR. BROWN: She also contributes to a pension plan and she gets regular medical coverage as well. She is essentially an employee of the federal government. To further explain, Sir, the grant has specific uses that we have to very carefully expend.

 

MR. LANE: Sure. So what’s the total funding from the federal government? For everything, what’s –?

 

MR. BROWN: I can’t speak to her salary, I guess that’s available publicly, but I don’t know exactly what it is. I can tell you about the $77,000 that’s there to support official functions and travel.

 

MR. LANE: Okay, that’s it, that’s all the questions I have.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: No further questions?

 

CLERK: 1.1.01.

 

CHAIR: Shall 1.1.01 carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Aye.

 

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay.’

 

On motion, subhead 1.1.01 carried.

 

CHAIR: Shall the total carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

AN HON. MEMBER: Aye.

 

CHAIR: All those against, ‘nay.’

 

Carried.

 

On motion, Government House, total head, carried.

 

CHAIR: Next item is going be the Premier’s Office, 2.1.01.

 

CLERK: 2.1.01.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.1.01 carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

Sorry.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I think I get a chance to ask questions.

 

CHAIR: You do, that’s correct. We’re jumping ahead.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Good.

 

CHAIR: Go ahead, Sir.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I was a little worried there for a moment.

 

Could we be provided with a list of all the staff in the Premier’s Office, please?

 

MS. DAY: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: The answer is a yes. Thank you.

 

As to Salaries, the details document lists 14 positions in the office in 2018 and 16 in 2019. Curiously enough, the budgeted salary is the same. Can you explain this?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Just to clarify, you’re referring to the salary report that was published on budget day?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, it’s – the answer is yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Thank you.

 

That report is, in essence, a snapshot in time that’s taken by the Human Resource Secretariat and it would display all active, filled positions within a particular area. So, if there were any vacancies at that moment in time, they would not display in that report. So, that would explain, I guess, the difference between the number of positions from two years.

 

In terms of the salary envelope, that is the budget at the time of budget preparation that was anticipated to be required for the staff complement that would be necessary for ’19-’20.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So if I understand you, the 14 positions given in 2018, is that as of the end of that year?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Once again, that report that was published in the former Estimates would also be a snapshot in time. I don’t know the specific date that those reports were generated. I’m sure the deputy minister and officials with Human Resource Secretariat who will be speaking later this morning may have some more detail on the generation of that report.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, again, so I understand, are you saying that the snapshot, as you put it, could be taken at really any time during the year?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I don’t believe it’s taken at any time of the year. My understanding – and, again, I stand to be corrected from those officials – is that it’s taken at the point in time that the Estimates, that the budget itself is getting ready to be published and/or released. So, it would be somewhere towards the end of the fiscal year, depending upon when budget had been slated to be delivered.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay, so the actual date could vary, then, from one fiscal year to another, could it, somewhat?

 

MS. TRICKETT: That is my understanding, yes. I don’t believe it’s taken on a particular day, no.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So it’s not necessarily consistent in terms of being a snapshot taken on the same day each fiscal year.

 

MS. TRICKETT: That would be my understanding.

 

MR. CROSBIE: It’s based on workflow and when people get around to actually doing the work that is provided to Estimates.

 

MS. TRICKETT: I would imagine that it is done as close to budget day to allow for publication as possible to –

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yeah.

 

MS. TRICKETT: – give the best picture of who we have, as an organization, on payroll at that moment in time.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

What all this is getting to is the explanation of the variation, somewhat, and the number of positions. It just depends on whether those positions happen to be filled at the time the snapshot is taken, is it?

 

MS. TRICKETT: For that particular report, yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

Could you also provide a list of Purchased Services, please?

 

I hear a yes, Sir?

 

MS. TRICKET: Yes.

 

OFFICIAL: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m just used to working on transcripts and you like to hear an audible answer, so it gets captured by Hansard. Thank you.

 

Could an explanation be given, please, for why Salaries have gone over budget by $203,500 in ’18-’19?

 

I’m on 2.2.01, Executive Support.

 

MS. TRICKETT: This overrun from’18-’19 reflects an increase related to positions associated with the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee, other major projects for which funding was budgeted under the Department of Finance and, subsequently, transferred in per direction of Treasury Board.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Got it.

 

MS. TRICKETT: It also reflects severance and related benefits for two management employees.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Crosbie, we’re going to complete 2.1.01 first, so if you’ve got any questions related to this one –

 

MR. CROSBIE: I see.

 

CHAIR: – we’ll address the 2.2.01 after.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Very good. So, in other words, you want to rotate to other people?

 

CHAIR: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Very good.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin?

 

MS. COFFIN: So, we’re at 2.1.01, yes?

 

CHAIR: Correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: Allowances and Assistance, there is $20,000 there. What’s that used for?

 

MS. TRICKETT: That reflects the housing allowance for the Premier.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

Yes, that’s my only question on this.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Lane, you got a question?

 

MR. LANE: No questions.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.1.01 carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

On motion, subhead 2.1.01 carried.

 

CHAIR: Shall the total carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Carried.

 

On motion, Premier’s Office, total head, carried.

 

CLERK: 2.2.01.

 

CHAIR: 2.2.01.

 

Mr. Crosbie.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

So, I was about to ask what are the other major projects referred to that go into the over budget amount of $203,500?

 

MS. DAY: Some of those projects included work that was done on the federal loan guarantee 2 and work that was done on the ExxonMobil file.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Sorry, the federal loan guarantee …?

 

MS. DAY: The federal loan guarantee 2.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Two –

 

MS. DAY: The second.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Muskrat?

 

MS. DAY: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay.

 

MS. DAY: As well as work that was done on the ExxonMobil file that was worked on through the person who was hired with Cabinet Secretariat, and the provision of policy advice to the Premier’s office on an ongoing basis.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Could I have the list of such expenditures, please?

 

MS. DAY: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Very good. Thank you.

 

There’s a planned salary decrease for ‘19-’20. How is it planned to achieve this?

 

MS. TRICKETT: That is, as the clerk had referenced previously, an exercise in vacancies. There would be natural delayed recruitment processes and savings that would result from the filling of those vacancies.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Sorry, say that again? Savings …

 

MS. TRICKETT: Savings that would relate from delayed recruitment, just the natural recruitment process and the timing that it takes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I see. Can you give an overview of the line item for Transportation and Communications? Last year we had $56,600 budgeted and $38,000 spent, with a savings of $18,600. This year, the budget is set at $45,300.

 

MS. TRICKETT: There were savings last year related to lower travel than anticipated and –

 

MR. CROSBIE: To lower – I’m sorry.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Lower travel requirements than anticipated. For this year we have reflected the budget to a reduction of $11,300 to reflect those lesser anticipated requirements, again, for ’19-’20.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Would you provide a list of the Professional Services provided, please? That’s affirmative?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Confirmed, yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: In Purchased Services, we went over budget by $17,000 in ’18-’19. Can you say why?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The overrun in Purchased Services reflects relocation costs associated with the former clerk of Executive Council.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So we’ve already heard that the budget for the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee is contained in these numbers here. Is that right?

 

MS. TRICKETT: No, the budget for the Muskrat Falls Oversight is actually – for the portion that relates to the Cabinet Secretariat work – budgeted under the Department of Finance. As those expenditures are incurred – and, as necessary, the office will absorb those costs to the best of their ability. As necessary, the office will request from the Treasury Board authority to move some of those budgetary amounts that are allocated under the Department of Finance into Executive Council to address those costs.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Where do we go to piece together the entire budget for the Oversight Committee?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I can’t speak, I suppose, to the entirety across government, only what I have responsibility for. As stated, the office will absorb general office operating costs. Paper requirements, supplies: those types of basic costs are absorbed within these budgeted allocations.

 

In terms of specific costs associated with the project, there is an allocation under the Department of Finance in a vote there that has specific amounts allocated. I can’t speak to other departments and if they would have anything specifically budgeted for in their Estimates or not.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Can you tell us what amount was transferred in to Executive Council, please?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes, for ’18-’19 we transferred $151,800 into Salaries to address – I’m sorry, for Muskrat Falls Oversight, specifically?

 

MR. CROSBIE: This Oversight Committee, yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’m sorry, I misspoke there. For Salaries we absorbed the salary requirements to the best of our ability and we didn’t actually transfer anything else. There was nothing transferred for ’18-’19 for Muskrat Falls.

 

MR. CROSBIE: There was nothing? Say that again?

 

MS. TRICKETT: There was nothing transferred from Finance to Executive Council for Muskrat Falls in ’18-’19.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay.

 

I think you were trying to explain what got transferred in to Executive Council. What was it? What was it for?

 

MS. TRICKETT: My initial statement?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: That would be related to the salaries for the individual the clerk spoke to that was in charge of major projects in the office. So that salary component was recovered through an allocation in the Department of Finance as well.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Is it in order to ask if we could be provided for the total budget? It may be fragmented in various places, but is it possible to get that, Madam Clerk?

 

MS. DAY: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes, please. Thank you.

 

I am remiss; I should have thanked you for coming and being very well prepared. I forgot that we had switched out people, so thank you and thank you for what I imagine are excellent notes. One question now that fits here just as well as it does everywhere else – I guess maybe two – what is the departmental attrition target?

 

MS. DAY: There is no specific target. We have been allocated a percentage of the savings of the budget and we are, across the entire Executive Council, focused on meeting the overall government target. We’re all contributing to the overall target throughout the entire government.

 

MS. COFFIN: Wait, what is the overall target for the whole department? This is for the whole department, not for each section. This is just where I thought it might fit, just as well as anywhere else.

 

MS. DAY: I think I’ll defer that question to when HRS is here doing their Estimates just after us. They’ll speak to the government (inaudible).

 

MS. COFFIN: I’ve got the question written down there. Okay, perfect. That’s where I had hidden the question, but I thought it might be an appropriate one here.

 

I do believe that’s all I have to say on this section.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Lane, did you have any questions for 2.2.01 to 2.2.02?

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, the only thing I have is any time that Mr. Crosbie or Ms. Coffin should ask for reports or whatever the case might be, numbers on different things, I would ask that we could all have copies of that.

 

MS. DAY: Yes, we will do that.

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

I have nothing else.

 

CLERK: 2.2.01 to 2.2.02.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.2.01 to 2.2.02 inclusive carry?

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

On motion, subheads 2.2.01 through 2.2.02 carried.

 

CLERK: 2.3.01.

 

CHAIR: 2.3.01.

 

Mr. Crosbie.

 

MR. CROSBIE: 2.3 –

 

CHAIR: Yeah. 2.3.01 to 2.3.03, Communications Branch.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So last year Salaries went over budget by $49,500. Could the minister or other official please outline why?

 

MS. TRICKETT: This overrun again reflects severance and related benefits for an employee.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m sorry; I didn’t quite catch that.

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’m sorry. The increase over budget reflects the severance and related benefits for an employee.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I see.

 

There’s a salary savings, comparing ’18-’19 to ’19-’20, of $37,300. Could an explanation be given how this is going to be achieved?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The similar answer I guess as I gave in the prior activity. This will be achieved through natural delays in the recruitment process, and any vacancies that are currently vacant, are how those savings will be achieved.

 

MR. CROSBIE: In respect of Supplies, could you explain what caused this item to go over budget by $8,400?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The reason for the overrun in Supplies is just the result of additional requirements for general office supplies that were needed in the office, replenishment of resources.

 

MR. CROSBIE: When I look at the description of the Communications Branch, 2.3.01, in my understanding two different disciplines are being discussed there or described. For example, it starts out talking about communications counsel and then it goes on, then we see reference being made to government’s marketing services and brand strategy and, toward the end, marketing and brand services.

 

Can you say whether these are separate functions or regarded by this establishment as separate functions?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’m going to defer that question to Glenn Bruce.

 

MR. BRUCE: Yes, we do have 10 people in the Marketing division and we have 10 people in the Communications division.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So, what I said earlier, in my understanding they’re separate disciplines. Would you agree with that statement?

 

MR. BRUCE: Yes, but we work together with all the departments as well so the communications staff in departments would work with marketing staff to develop messaging for the departments and then develop the products that we would use to deliver those messages.

 

MR. CROSBIE: There would be overlap and, of course, communication between these two – what do we call them, branches or …?

 

MR. BRUCE: Divisions.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Pardon me?

 

MR. BRUCE: That would be division. The Communications division within the branch and the Marketing division.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Obviously, they don’t work in totally separate silos; they communicate with each other?

 

MR. BRUCE: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: But what I’m getting from the organization of this is that they are regarded separate disciplines.

 

MR. BRUCE: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

In terms of Professional Services, can you please outline what expenses or projects were included in the $242,200 expenditure?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I don’t have a list of the specific items for ’18-’19, but I can certainly provide that to you.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What’s planned for this year?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’ll defer to Glenn Bruce for that.

 

MR. BRUCE: Our budget for this year for Professional Services is the $350,400. That reflects a decrease from 2018 budget as identified under zero-based budgeting.

 

MR. CROSBIE: A decrease from the budget that was allocated this year but underspent, you mean.

 

MR. BRUCE: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m sorry; you said you were going to provide a list, Ms. Trickett?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes. You were looking for the list for ’18-’19?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, the answer would be yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes, I will provide that.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Where does branding strategy fit into Purchased Services, if at all?

 

MR. BRUCE: Under Purchased Services, one of the things that we do is media advertising buys, so they would fit in there.

 

MR. CROSBIE: We’re getting a list for this last year, then, are we? The list of expenditures?

 

MS. TRICKETT: A list of expenditures for the Professional Services line?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

Total budgeted for Operating Accounts is $225,100 more than the revised for ’18-’19. Can you explain why the increase?

 

MS. TRICKETT: There were allocations in ’18-’19, the majority of which were late under the Professional Services and the Purchased Services lines, for which were not fully expended during the fiscal year. That would relate to the majority of the savings across the Operating category.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So, why is the same budget needed this year?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I will defer to Glenn Bruce if necessary, but my understanding is with this office the needs are revisited on an annual basis and the intention for that budget for the coming ’19-’20 year is currently being determined. But I will let Glenn speak to that if he feels –

 

MR. BRUCE: That is right. The planning is still underway for a lot of the public awareness campaigns and those types of things. They arise from year to year and after that planning is done we will have a better idea what departments need.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Can you explain what outside contracts have been used over the last 12 months?

 

MS. TRICKETT: We do not have a list of that here, but the list that we have promised for the Professional Services for ’18-’19 will certainly outline any external consultants that were utilized.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you for that.

 

MS. TRICKETT: You’re welcome.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What media marketing campaigns have taken place over the last 12 months?

 

MR. BRUCE: I do not have those details with me, but we can get them for you.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I look forward to that.

 

Thank you.

 

MR. BRUCE: Okay.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What publications or reports has the branch published over the last 12 years, and what was the production cost for each?

 

MR. BRUCE: I would have to get that for you, as well.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

I look forward to that.

 

Mr. Chair.

 

CHAIR: Further questions, Ms. Coffin?

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes, please. Thank you.

 

So, I get anything under 2.3, right?

 

CHAIR: 2.3, correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: Lovely. Thank you.

 

Let us start with Communications. How many comm staff are there across government?

 

MR. BRUCE: I will get it for you to give you the exact, but we have 10 in the Communications division, and then there is a director for each of the departments, and a media manager for all but Office of the Status of Women. So, I think we are around 39.

 

MS. COFFIN: That is pretty good.

 

Did you know there is only one legislative drafter?

 

MR. BRUCE: I did not.

 

MS. COFFIN: No. Just as a comparison.

 

Supplies – I noticed that the replenishment of Supplies under 2.3.01 was pretty significant. We see Supplies over in 2.3.02 as being a fairly big chunk we expect to spend in 2019-2020, and another fairly large chunk again in Policy, Planning and Coordination. What’s under Supplies there?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I’m going to ask Katie Norman to speak to the Supplies under the 2.3.02 and the 2.3.03.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

MS. TRICKETT: In regard to the Supplies under 2.3.01, the categories under Supplies are paper, pens and those types of things. With the communications and marketing branch, any materials that they would produce in-house for any work associated with that would come under that line object. As I referenced, Katie Norman will be able to speak to the specifics for those other two activities.

 

MS. COFFIN: I was having some trouble getting my head around how many stickies and paper clips would $20,000 buy, right?

 

MS. NORMAN: I can provide more detail, Ms. Coffin, on that.

 

MS. COFFIN: Lovely.

 

MS. NORMAN: Under Supplies for Public Engagement 2.3.02, that includes $15,000 which is our annual licensing fee for the online engagement portal, Engage NL. Then, under Policy, Planning and Coordination the large bulk of the spend there is for licensing fees for a program called NVivo, which is our engagement data analysis software. So that’s some specialized tools that only our office uses across government, so we absorb those costs.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, lovely. Thank you very much.

 

Okay, let’s go back to the attrition model. I know that you said you’ve cut a number of vacant positions that haven’t been filled. Has any of the work that would’ve fallen under the vacant positions that have been left unfilled and are falling into this attrition model, are they being captured at all in Professional Services?

 

MS. DAY: I would say, no, not to my knowledge.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. Thank you.

 

Let’s move to 2.3.02, Salaries. We’re seeing a substantial decrease in Salaries under Public Engagement to the tune of $226,000 plus or minus a couple of hundred. Is there attrition there and, if so, what were the positions that were cut?

 

MS. TRICKETT: No, there were no positions cut in that office. That’s simply – sorry.

 

OFFICIAL: (Inaudible.)

 

MS. TRICKETT: I can keep going?

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Sorry.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’s okay.

 

MS. TRICKETT: The reduction from budget to budget in that salary line does not reflect any reduction in positions. It is just a reflection of positions that are anticipated to be vacant for the coming fiscal year.

 

MS. COFFIN: How many positions? That’s $226,000, that’s a fair chunk of change.

 

MS. NORMAN: Wanda, if you’d like, I can speak to that.

 

If you actually sum Public Engagement and the Policy, Planning and Coordination office, those both fall under my responsibilities. The total has been maintained at $1.67 million in overall spending. That’s been looking strategically at the positions that we have in light of government’s efficiency mandate and attrition over time because there have been a number of reductions, particularly on the policy side, over the last number of years.

 

There are no positions that have been eliminated, as Wanda has stated; however, we are working together across those two divisions to deploy government’s public engagement activities.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’s why we see the increase in 2.3.03 under the Policy, Planning.

 

MS. NORMAN: Exactly.

 

MS. COFFIN: You see it go up there.

 

MS. NORMAN: The amount is the same, we just sort of rightsize both to reflect the staff complement.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, so more money is now being spent on Public Engagement and less on Policy, Planning and Coordination, yes?

 

MS. NORMAN: Actually the converse.

 

MS. COFFIN: All right. That’s reassuring, actually.

 

Let’s see what else here. There’s an extra almost $20,000 spent on Purchased Services. What was that all about?

 

MS. NORMAN: That’s in part related to government’s commitment to increase the accessibility of public engagement. Last year, there was a new policy put in place related to accessible public engagement. When I looked at my budget this year, I felt it was important to put in an allocation that would allow us to be able to provide some of those services for major public engagement activities. It’s been reprofiled from other areas.

 

MS. COFFIN: That would be things like sign language interpretation –

 

MS. NORMAN: Correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: – or alternate language interpretation and those types of things.

 

MS. NORMAN: Correct.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, good job on that then.

 

Let’s see, Professional Services, Policy, Planning and Coordination; they have an extra almost $391,000. What was the planning chunk that was almost $400,000 there?

 

MS. TRICKETT: That reflects cost associated with shared services. As I spoke to you previously under the Executive Support activity, that money is budgeted under the Department of Finance and transferred in if and when required.

 

MS. COFFIN: So the shared services, again, are what?

 

MS. NORMAN: I can speak to that.

 

Part of the responsibility of the Policy, Planning and Coordination office is to support horizontal efficiency initiatives. One of the things that we have been responsible for is serving as the project management office for government’s public commitments related to sharing back-office functions across the broader public sector. As part of that, we had a contract this year with an external consultant to measure a baseline of back-office functions and identify opportunities for efficiency in a manner consistent with government’s attrition and broader public sector commitments through collective bargaining. As part of that, we’re preparing a report to the Cabinet on opportunities.

 

MS. COFFIN: Excellent. Who was awarded that contract? That was a rather lucrative contract.

 

MS. NORMAN: That was awarded as part of a broader master service agreement going back to 2015 under the transformational change initiative with Ernst & Young.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Do you have any preliminary results on what they thought would be reasonable shared services and what those back-room efficiencies were?

 

MS. NORMAN: Sure.

 

I can’t speak to that at this time in that the report is being finalized for Cabinet consideration, but government has been publicly updating The Way Forward website with progress on shared services, as those have been identified over time. Certainly, it would be my expectation that there would be a public release of information when it is appropriate to do so.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, I look forward to seeing that.

 

Grants and Subsidies; as we move along here there is exactly $3,219,900, consistent from budget to revised to Estimate. Who’s getting these Grants and Subsidies and what are they for?

 

MS. NORMAN: That funding falls into three categories. The first is just about $2.5 million that goes to the 34 Community Youth Networks throughout the province. That’s their core operational funding, supporting at-risk youth throughout our province.

 

It also includes $206,000 in core operating funding for the Community Sector Council. That’s part of a multi-year funding agreement with that organization. It also includes just over $400,000 in project-based grants for what’s called the Grants to Youth Organizations program. That’s year-over-year funding on a one-time basis to organizations providing supports to youth throughout our province.

 

MS. COFFIN: I’m a little confused as to why these youth initiatives – and that’s big, big chunks of money – are falling under Planning, Policy and Coordination of Executive Council, as opposed to a department that’s more directly involved in servicing youth. Does anyone have the rationale for why it sits there and not in, early childhood education or another department that’s perhaps a little more targeted towards youth?

 

MS. DAY: I think over the past number of years – it is the office that Katie is the ADM for that has been responsible for the provision of these grants to youth.

 

The work that is done and the decisions that are made on the funding is done in consultation with all those other departments that would be supporting youth, but it’s coordinated and centralized within one division within government.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. Thank you. I do believe that’s –

 

CHAIR: Your time is expired.

 

MS. COFFIN: Yeah.

 

CHAIR: Mr. Crosbie, do you have any other questions on 2.3.01 to 2.3.03?

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes, thank you.

 

Did I understand from Ms. Norman that there is a report to go to Cabinet on – did you use the word opportunities?

 

MS. NORMAN: Yes, Mr. Crosbie, I did use the term opportunities.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What kind of opportunities?

 

MS. NORMAN: Well, the shared services project, government’s public commitment is to look at opportunities for shared services across back office functions focused on finance, human resources, information technology and supply chain.

 

An example of opportunities that are currently being pursued and are publicly noted would be consolidation of payroll functions, collections, the recent consolidation of civil engineering services within core government and –

 

MR. CROSBIE: Sure, I get the general idea.

 

So the object of all this is to find efficiencies and save money. Is that right?

 

MS. NORMAN: Yes, that’s correct, and better services.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Improve service.

 

MS. NORMAN: Improve service.

 

MR. CROSBIE: And do it more efficiently.

 

MS. NORMAN: Yes, that’s correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Okay. Has this project implemented and identified any budgetary savings yet?

 

MS. NORMAN: It would be premature to comment on this at the time, as we’re just finalizing the initial baseline information for Cabinet consideration.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, I think you said that there are regular updates on the website, but they seem to be somewhat vague about progress. There’s no actual quantification or measurement of progress, is there?

 

MS. NORMAN: The intention is to provide real-time updates as they’re available. I would defer – obviously, that’s a Cabinet decision on how much information they wish to release.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Well, just an observation. It seems vague updates to me.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin, do you have any further questions?

 

MS. COFFIN: No, thank you.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.3.01 to 2.3.03 inclusive carry?

 

All those in favour.

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

On motion, subheads 2.3.01 through 2.3.03 carried.

 

CLERK: 2.4.01.

 

CHAIR: 2.4.01.

 

Mr. Crosbie.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

Could we get a list of all the positions whose salaries are included herein and also an explanation of the variance across the line item, please?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Yes, I can provide you that listing, and you wanted to know …

 

MR. CROSBIE: The reasons for the variance across the item.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Across Salaries.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes.

 

MS. TRICKETT: The savings that are reflected there from last year is a result of several vacancies in that office during the year.

 

MR. CROSBIE: The result of –?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Vacancies of several positions.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Vacancies. I’m sorry.

 

That seems to be a theme, if I’m not mistaken.

 

MS. TRICKETT: The vacancies were timing. It was delayed recruitment, trying to get those positions staffed up. There was also a portion of time where the departmental controller had left the division and was replaced with another departmental controller at a lower salary, so you would see differences in salary grade associated with that.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Yes, and I’m sure these things happen in an operation as large as government.

 

Revenue - Provincial, where did the $3,300 in revenue come from, please?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The revenue that’s reflected here is a grouping of miscellaneous revenues. So, it would result in, for example – I’m not sure how familiar you are with the P-Card initiative in government, but, effectively, that has replaced a lot of our petty cash allocations across our department.

 

When an employee is granted petty cash they are set up with a receivable, as they are owing of that money to government. When they turn that money back in, that money is receipted as miscellaneous revenue. This activity is sort of the general, operational catch-all for the Cabinet Secretariat, the Office of the Executive Council, and that reflects that return of funding.

 

It also would reflect, for example, if somebody had an overpayment in salaries that cannot be written against the expenditure in the fiscal year for which it incurred, so it was salaries that were overpaid in a prior fiscal year and it was recovered in this fiscal year. It’s just an accounting treatment of how you have to record the revenue and when it relates.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Am I understanding it correctly this is kind of like petty cash advances?

 

MS. TRICKETT: Correct. It would relate to money that had been given to a government employee to house and control petty cash for a division that has now been turned in because they have been given a Purchasing Card instead, so there’s no need to have cash on hand, if you will, in that area. So, when that money is returned, it is paid back to government coffers.

 

MR. CROSBIE: All right, or is could be as well salary overpayments which got repaid.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Since it’s $3,300 in the big picture, I’m not going to agonize over it.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Any other question, Mr. Crosbie, on 2.4.01?

 

MR. CROSBIE: No.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin?

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Let’s go along the theme of horizontal efficiencies.

 

I note that this seems to be the only department with financial administration as a subsection, and it’s almost a million dollars; it’s three-quarter of a million dollars.

 

Any reason why this has not been manifested as a horizontal efficiency somewhere?

 

MS. TRICKETT: The Financial Administration division here reflects – actually it’s my division and it reflects all of the financial components that provide the general operational and financial services to multiple departments. So, we’re referred to as a cluster controller group.

 

In other departments, you will notice that the controller unit reports directly in through that department; Department of Health, for example, Department of Transportation and Works.

 

For mine, I’m responsible, and my employees are responsible, for providing these services to the entirety of Executive Council, the Department of Finance, the Public Service Commission and the Consolidated Funds Services.

 

So, I report directly in through the clerk of the Executive Council, as well as the Premier, and this is where my activity is housed to provide services for those four departments.

 

MS. COFFIN: So where are the other services? Where do the other departments – where do we see their financial administration services manifest?

 

MS. TRICKETT: I can’t speak specifically, but oftentimes you’ll see a corporate services activity or something like that in that department. It may contain some of their policy people. I guess it depends on that particular department.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. Good to know.

 

Thank you.

 

MS. TRICKETT: You’re welcome.

 

CHAIR: No further questions?

 

MR. CROSBIE: No, Sir.

 

CLERK: 2.4.01.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.4.01 carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

On motion, subhead 2.4.01 carried.

 

CLERK: 2.5.01.

 

CHAIR: 2.5.01.

 

Changeover?

 

CLERK: We need to change over.

 

CHAIR: Intergovernmental and Indigenous Affairs.

 

We’ll take a short break as we have to change some staff over.

 

Recess

 

CLERK: 2.5.01 to 2.5.02.

 

CHAIR: Okay we’re going to do items 2.5.01 and 2.5.02.

 

Minister Osborne, if you want to introduce your staff first.

 

MR. OSBORNE: Yes, I’ll ask my staff to introduce themselves.

 

MS. HEARN: Good morning.

 

My name is Patricia Hearn; I’m the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Wanda Trickett, Departmental Controller.

 

MS. HUSSEY: Cindy Hussey, Assistant Deputy Clerk.

 

MR. BRUCE: Glenn Bruce, Associate Secretary to Cabinet, Communications.

 

MS. ELLIOTT: Susan Elliott, Executive Assistant to the Minister.

 

CHAIR: I think everybody else has been introduced.

 

Ms. Coffin, I don’t know if you want opening questions this time on items 2.5.01 and 2.5.02.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, let’s see here. Sure, I can do that.

 

Let’s go with some of the technical questions first. I notice Salaries are all over the place. The budgeted and revised came in almost twice as much as budgeted and the current Estimate is somewhere in the middle of both of those. What’s going on there?

 

MS. HEARN: The revised budget for 2018-’19 includes the $195,000 that was severance and related benefits for one employee. There was a new ADM position that was created and that added the $87,800 to that number, offset by some vacancies.

 

That’s the increase in the revised budget for ’18-’19. For ’19-’20, obviously, we don’t have the severance and related benefits included in that and it does reflect an additional portion to reflect the assistant deputy minister position.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

I noticed Grants and Subsidies haven’t changed at all. What’s included in that?

 

MS. HEARN: That Grants and Subsidies is the contribution that we make on behalf of the government to what’s called the Canadian secretariat for intergovernmental services, I believe. They provide all the administrative support to all federal-provincial meetings, whether it’s the Premier, the ministers or deputy ministers.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Transportation, $56,000 of revised over budget and then an increase of almost double in this year’s Estimates. Are we communicating more or transporting more?

 

MS. HEARN: I think we’re transporting more. Two reasons for the increase in terms of ’18-’19; first, it was offset by some reductions in travel in non-executives. We had more executive travel offset by the reduction, to some extent, by non-executive.

 

The other reason for the increase was the fact that we did have some extraordinary travel related to NAFTA renegotiations. That happened during the year. We did have a NAFTA challenge through Kruger and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper that was launched in the US. That required extraordinary travel in that particular year. This year, it’s to reflect the increase in the travel at the executive level, offset by travel in the non-executive level.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, thank you.

 

Go back to that new ADM. How does the new ADM square with the attrition model?

 

MS. HEARN: As I think has been said previously, it’s been set in terms of dollar amounts. We’re working towards that and managed – and I will let Wanda speak to it – more holistically within, what I’ll call the department but the broader office.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Let us go to Indigenous Affairs. Grants and Subsidies; there’s an extra $90,000 which is a very wonderful thing.

 

CHAIR: Excuse me, Ms. Coffin, we’re going to keep that for next. We’re just dealing strictly with 2.5.01 and 2.5.02.

 

MS. COFFIN: Oh, I’m sorry. I got excited. 2.5 …?

 

CHAIR: 2.5.01 and 2.5.02, keeping 2.5.03 –

 

MS. COFFIN: And 2.5.03?

 

CHAIR: No, not 2.5.03 right now.

 

MS. COFFIN: Oh, okay then.

 

Then, let’s go over here. Is government now making the effort to ensure Indigenous groups are at the table when decisions regarding them are being made? As an example, they were not properly consulted in the early days of Muskrat Falls or when cuts to Black Tickle were made.

 

Indigenous people have the right to be part of decision-making that affects them. Has government developed any kind of policy on ensuring this happens?

 

MR. OSBORNE: I think that would be the next section as well.

 

CHAIR: That would be Indigenous Affairs.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, yeah, that’s the secretariat. Sorry, I’m new.

 

CHAIR: That’s okay. We have to change some staff over.

 

Mr. Crosbie.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Now that they have a chance to consider the question, that will increase the quality of the answer, I’m sure.

 

If you have a surge requirement, such as a negotiation like what the government likes to describe as the Atlantic Accord negotiations, where would that fit in?

 

MS. HEARN: I can only speak for my own case, coming out of Intergovernmental Affairs – and we participated in those, as you are aware – we did it, really, through a reallocation of resources and people in terms of directing them to that and in terms of the travel to support that. They wouldn’t be reflected in these numbers, per se.

 

MR. CROSBIE: What are you saying? You’re more of a coordinating body within government when a negotiation with the central government occurs?

 

MS. HEARN: It would depend. We are certainly a coordinating piece, being Intergovernmental Affairs and if the discussions are with the federal government. We would also work, obviously, closely and as part of the team with the other line departments, be it Finance, Natural Resources or whomever it might be.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m on to 2.5.02. That’s in order, Mr. Chair?

 

CHAIR: That’s correct.

 

MR. CROSBIE: The Salaries went over budget by $75,100. Can you explain, please, why that happened?

 

MS. HEARN: Yes. There was $101,000 severance and related benefit for two employees, and then offset through a $26,000 reduction that was attained throughout the year to give us the net difference.

 

MR. CROSBIE: In Transportation and Communications it seems that savings were found and more savings may be found in ’19-’20. Can you give an explanation for that?

 

MS. HEARN: I think I had previously mentioned that we had more of the increase in the travel reflected in the executive level, and so with a reduction in the non-executive level and a concerted effort to reduce the travel – more conference calls, that sort of approach.

 

MR. CROSBIE: In the revised for 2018-’19, Professional Services, we have a round number there, $100,000. Is that because the full cost, at the time this was prepared, was not then known and that was the best estimate?

 

MS. HEARN: That cost reflects access to services not otherwise available to us, specialized services, to support trade negotiations, trade analysis. In this particular case, that would have been the amount available to us, I believe is the correct answer, and so we used what was available to us.

 

Wanda, I don’t know if –

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m not quite sure I follow that, because what was budgeted was $119,000.

 

MS. HEARN: That’s right. We had $119,000 budgeted, we were reducing our costs. What was available to us was the $100,000 and that’s what we used, because we used –

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m not sure I understand the meaning of available then.

 

MS. HEARN: In order to balance our budgets or to reach the targets that we needed, we were able to take $19,000 of that and move it into the other categories.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I see. Are we to understand that $100,000 has actually been expended?

 

MS. HEARN: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: That’s the exact amount then?

 

MS. HEARN: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: How will $118,900 be spent this coming year, or this year?

 

MS. HEARN: The options available to us, and for what we’ve used them in my term in the last couple of years, have been through, as I said, getting expert trade analysis to support either ongoing discussions or negotiations, or to do that analysis of ongoing projects. This would be funding that we would disburse through Department of Justice, if I’m correct, in terms of we’re getting that specialized expertise from legal firms as an example.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Do I understand then, that Justice sources the expertise and you pay for it?

 

MS. HEARN: We have an allocation for it for trade-specific activities.

 

MR. CROSBIE: You’re saying all of that $118,900 is going to be trade related?

 

MS. HEARN: That’s the intent. In the past, when we haven’t required it for those purposes, we’ve done some other activities, some trade analysis in specific sectors, but in my term, in my time, it’s been supporting the trade legal analysis.

 

MR. CROSBIE: I’m still perplexed by how you can be so specific and accurate as to budget, or spend $100,000 this year, but then apparently be so accurate as to forecast an expenditure of $118,900 next year or this present year.

 

MS. HEARN: This amount was the amount that’s been traditionally within the trade secretariat that was moved over to Intergovernmental Affairs a couple of years ago and that was the amount, the $119,000. We used this to, as I say, contribute towards any legal costs, as an example, that may need to be done to support the detailed trade analysis.

 

So, we would have made that contribution available to support the Department of Justice as they contract out – if I’m using the terminology correctly – with legal firms and that would’ve been our capacity to support the activity that they would have undertaken.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Could you provide a list of the expenditures under that $100,000 item?

 

MS. HEARN: Yes.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you for that.

 

The Grants and Subsidies, we had $4,400 last year having been spent out of an envelope of $5,900. What’s the item for and why not all funds distributed?

 

MS. HEARN: So that funding supports, in the same vein as I discussed earlier, the secretariat that used to be referred to as the Agreement on Internal Trade, now called the Canada Free Trade Agreement. So that’s a secretariat that supports all the provinces, and our bill last year was $4,400 as opposed to the $5,900.

 

MR. CROSBIE: So, in a sense, you don’t control the expenditure. You estimate it and you pay the bill they send you.

 

MS. HEARN: We have a role on the Management Committee to oversee all of this. So, I can’t tell you specifically why the amount was less than it was originally indicated to be last year, but that is the order of magnitude and that’s the amount that it’s traditionally been.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Were any of these monies we’re looking at here spent on what the government refers to as the Atlantic Accord negotiations?

 

MS. HEARN: There would have been some travel. None of the Grants and Subsidies, but there would have been employee travel in terms of the meetings with the Government of Canada.

 

MR. CROSBIE: That’s the only character of expenditure with respect to the Atlantic Accord, is that right?

 

MS. HEARN: We may have used some of the Professional Services money for some legal advice in terms of that. I’m just trying to think in terms of timing, so that would have been right before the end of March.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Can you state whether any money has been spent to study the legal implications on section 92A of the Constitution as it relates to our ability to tax hydro power export?

 

MS. HEARN: Not in my budget there hasn’t been.

 

MR. CROSBIE: Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Your time has expired, Mr. Crosbie.

 

Ms. Coffin, do you have any further questions on …

 

MS. COFFIN: I’m good.

 

CHAIR: You have questions on 2.5.01 and 2.5.02?

 

No other questions?

 

Mr. Lane.

 

MR. LANE: Thank you.

 

A couple of quick ones. The first one under 2.5.01, Transportation and Communications, I know it’s been asked, but I just want to get some clarification.

 

So, we budgeted $32,100, spent $88,200, and that had to do with the federal loan guarantee 2, I think, the second loan guarantee, I believe you said is what drove that number up in the travel. Was that correct?

 

MS. HEARN: Actually, no.

 

MR. LANE: No?

 

MS. HEARN: It was the NAFTA renegotiations.

 

MR. LANE: The NAFTA, okay, yes.

 

So that drove that up. That was sort of a one-off, a special circumstance, but yet we’re doubling what was budgeted for last year. So, I’m just wondering what the rationale is, given that that’s now taken care of. Is there something else extraordinary that’s come up this year, or why the doubling?

 

MS. HEARN: I would say two things. First of all, it’s been offset by a reduction in the non-executive level –

 

MR. LANE: Yeah.

 

MS. HEARN: – because now we have the ADM as opposed to someone in the non-executive level travelling. So, that’s one of the contributions.

 

The other has been that there has been a lot of demand in terms of federal-provincial meetings, and we’ve seen an increase in that. As well I would say in terms of the trade negotiations that go broader than even NAFTA; we’ve seen some of the discussions with respect to the Trans-Pacific Partnership one, there’s a China – all of these things can vary –

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

MS. HEARN: – depending on what’s happening in the world, but we’ve seen a number of those that have taken on a greater prominence, I guess, on the intergovernmental world.

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

Somewhat relating to that, when I look at 2.5.02, in the description it talks about: “Appropriations provide for review and analysis of intergovernmental issues relating to social, fiscal, resource, economic, constitutional and trade policy …” and “intergovernmental negotiations in those areas.”

 

So, just focusing on the resource piece and intergovernmental negotiations, granted I represent an urban district, but I’m sure like a lot of Members and the parties, I hear from people from all around the province. I’ve heard from a number of people who have serious concerns around our fishery and so on and policies that I think a lot of people believe need to be changed as it relates to our fishery, including some form of joint management and so on.

 

If there was anything happening in that regard, I assume that it would fall under sort of that category under this area. I’m sure, obviously, the Department of Fisheries would be involved as well, but, nonetheless, it should fall under here because it is a resource.

 

I’m just wondering, has there been any initiatives taken or are there any initiatives planned from the prospective of Intergovernmental Affairs to meet with the federal government to talk about the challenges around our fishery and the potential to change some arrangements in the future?

 

MS. HEARN: I’ll have to, I guess, refer to the Minister of Fisheries for the specifics of that. What I can say is that this group and this section of our department oversee, depending on the year, approximately 60 intergovernmental agreements across a whole realm of the government, obviously. Predominantly, they’re with the Government of Canada, but not all, so the bulk of our activity reflected here is supporting those agreements.

 

I am aware, but, as I say, perhaps better addressed by the Minister of Fisheries. There are ongoing discussions with the Government of Canada across the whole breadth of the government and, of course, all the sectors, and we support the department in those discussions.

 

MR. LANE: Am I to understand, then, that such an initiative, as it relates to our fishery, would have to be something that would be driven by the Department of Fisheries, by the Minister of Fisheries, to say that we want to engage in discussions and so on around this, and then your division would support those efforts? Is that how it would work? Or would you lead those efforts?

 

MS. HEARN: Our leadership, it’s decided on a case-by-case basis in some respects. The Premier is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, so I should start with that. In our department, we look across the whole breadth of issues that we are discussing with the Government of Canada and determine – and I am giving you a very honest answer in terms of how it would work.

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, that’s what I am looking for.

 

MS. HEARN: We would look at what are the priorities, what is the timing, how we position ourselves, who we put together in the teams and how we approach it. The Premier, as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, would lead it but, obviously, in consultation and in a team way with line departments.

 

MR. LANE: Is it fair to say that, to your knowledge, at least for this budget year and this upcoming year, there are no plans to engage in any such activities as it relates to the fishery? Is that fair statement?

 

MS. HEARN: No, I would say that there is always ongoing discussions with the Government of Canada with respect to fisheries.

 

MR. LANE: Okay, thank you.

 

That’s all I have.

 

CHAIR: No further questions?

 

CLERK: 2.5.01 to 2.5.02.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.5.01 to 2.5.02 inclusive carry?

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Carried.

 

On motion, subheads 2.5.01 through 2.5.02 carried.

 

CLERK: 2.5.03.

 

CHAIR: 2.5.03, Indigenous Affairs.

 

I think we have some staff change again. While staff is changing over – obviously, we are getting close to noon, our three hours will soon be expired, but is it the wish of the Committee to continue on?

 

We will try to conclude by 12:30. Is that good with everyone? Is that fair? We will look at it again at 12:30?

 

Is that good with you, Ms. Coffin?

 

Ms. Coffin: Yes.

 

CHAIR: Good with everybody else?

 

Thank you.

 

 

As there has only been one change on government’s side there, Ms. Evans, I’ll let you introduce yourself when your mic comes on. Can we have Ms. Evan’s mic on in the seat Mr. Crosbie just occupied, please?

 

MS. EVANS: Lela Evans, Torngat Mountains.

 

CHAIR: And now we’re discussing Indigenous Affairs. So again, we’ll introduce the staff members.

 

MR. GOVER: Aubrey Gover, Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs. With me is Assistant Deputy Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Judy White.

 

MS. TRICKETT: Wanda Trickett, Departmental Controller.

 

CHAIR: I think everybody else have not changed, so we’ll move on. We’ll discuss 2.5.03.

 

Ms. Evans, would you like to start?

 

MS. EVANS: Yes. 2.5.03, Indigenous Affairs, looking at Salaries there. Salaries went over budget by $15,500 in ’18-’19. Would you be able to tell us why?

 

MR. GOVER: Yes, we had one long-term employee retire and, as a result, that employee was entitled to certain benefits, termination benefits, and offsetting those payouts were some vacancies we had during the course of the year, so it all netted out to an increase of, as you say, $15,500.

 

MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

Looking at Transportation and Communications, last year there was a savings of $25,200. I’m just looking at why. Given that there were savings last year, why is this year’s budget still near last year’s $110,000?

 

MR. GOVER: It’s often difficult to predict the amount of travel that Indigenous Affairs does with a high degree of accuracy. This budget has been reduced, over the years, a very significant amount. But some of the factors that drive the amount of travel that’s needed are the location and the number of negotiation sessions for land claims. For example, on the Innu land claim, there’s a framework agreement which prescribes the negotiations are supposed to take place in Natuashish, Sheshatshiu, Happy Valley-Goose Bay – I’m sorry, St. John’s and Ottawa on a rotating basis.

 

Oftentimes, in a run of a year, you might see, depending on what is being discussed, more sessions in St. John’s which reduces the travel budget. Sometimes the sessions are of such a nature or the issues are of such a nature, you see more sessions in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish and Ottawa, because that involves travel from St. John’s for the Indigenous Affairs staff, the budget would increase. Also the number of sessions in any given year, of course, affects the budget.

 

Also, initiatives that the federal government establishes have a big effect on the budget. As we see with the current federal administration, we have Bill C-92 on Indigenous child welfare and Bill C-91 on Indigenous languages. Earlier on we had federal principles on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a proposed recognition – rights framework by the federal government. These are all initiatives that we had to travel for and be involved in.

 

Last year, because we may have had more sessions in St. John’s, we didn’t use up the entire budget. This year, we could come close to using it all up. It fluctuates up and down on any given year.

 

MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

Okay, moving on to Grants and Subsidies. Can the minister please outline what this grant money is used for and provide a list of the groups who received the funding in ’18-’19?

 

MR. GOVER: The $399,800 that was budgeted in 2018-19, that is entirely to fund boards under the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. So the boards under the Land Claims Agreement, that particular land claim agreement, are funded one-third by the Nunatsiavut Government, one-third by the federal government and one-third by the provincial government.

 

The almost $400,000 that was budgeted in ’18-’19 represents the provincial one-third share for the boards that are established under the LILCA. The bulk of that money is for the Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board and the Torngat Joint Fisheries Board and their common secretariat of public service, the Torngat Secretariat. The bulk of that $400,000 would be for that.

 

MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

Yes, just continue on with Grants and Subsidies now. You mentioned $399,800. That’s usually pretty standard throughout the years, I’ve noticed, because of what it’s used for, as you just outlined. Looking at the Estimates now, under Grants and Subsidies, the line item there being increased now to $489,800, that’s almost an extra $100,000?

 

MR. GOVER: That’s correct.

 

MS. EVANS: Would you be able to just tell us where this extra funding will be going?

 

MR. GOVER: Yes.

 

Should the House approve this budget and these appropriations that $90,000 is earmarked, for the first time ever – that the House will have approved appropriations for Native Friendship Centres in Newfoundland and Labrador. The $90,000 is to be divided: $30,000 for the St. John’s First Light Friendship Centre, $30,000 for the Labrador Friendship Centre and $30,000 for the People of the Dawn Friendship Centre on the West Coast.

 

Like I said, there has been never an appropriation from the provincial government for friendship centres until this particular appropriation. The $90,000 is for the three friendship centres in those amounts.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

Moving on now to revenue, we did see that there was $6,500 there in revenue. We were just wondering where did this come from and why?

 

MR. GOVER: This is a residual of many years ago. As you may recall, I believe it was under former Premier Dunderdale and former Minister Patty Pottle, there were issues about the certification of home heating oil tanks in Nunatsiavut.

 

MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

MR. GOVER: It was extraordinarily expensive for the residents of Nunatsiavut to comply with the regulations, so the government of the day put in place a program to allow people to have their oil tanks either replaced or brought up to the regulated standard at a significant subsidized cost. Some people did have to make some contribution towards that program and over the years the money keeps trickling in.

 

This $6,500 would represent some payments that people made that they had agreed to make under this program, because we did take payments over a period of time.

 

MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

Just another question now: Could you please give an overview of how Indigenous Affairs interacts with various government departments on policy analysis and in program delivery.

 

MR. GOVER: Indigenous Affairs, I would say, is like a few entities in the government. It’s a central agency. By that I mean it’s like all departments come to us for advice or views on Indigenous affairs. It’s just like all departments come to Justice for advice on justice matters, or all departments go to Finance for advice on financial matters or to Intergovernmental Affairs for advice on intergovernmental affairs or Labrador Affairs or Women’s Policy, as the case may be. We basically have three main lines of business, which are outlined in our annual report, where we interact with all the departments of the provincial government, all the Indigenous governments and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, and, of course, the federal government, which is, of course, a large factor in Indigenous relations.

 

Our first line of business would be when it comes to the negotiation of land claims and self-government agreements, and any other Indigenous agreement between the province and an Indigenous government and organization. We would generally lead those negotiations. During the course of those negotiations, of course, we need positions or views on how does Natural Resources feel about this particular position that, say, the Innu are putting forward. Or how does Fisheries feel about a particular position, or Health. As a result of that, in the negotiations we interact with all other departments. That would be one aspect.

 

Also, not only negotiation of land claims and self-government agreements, but we’re heavily involved in the implementation of such agreements. As you may well be aware, with respect to the Labrador Inuit Claims Agreement there’s an implementation committee comprised of the federal government, the Nunatsiavut Government and the provincial government. Again, the issues that can arise at those tables, the implementation tables, can affect a multiplicity of departments in the provincial government. We have many interactions along with those issues.

 

Our second major line of business is consultation and accommodation. The Supreme Court of Canada, I believe, in 2004 – it might have been earlier, it might have been 1994 – in the case of Haidi Taku, laid down the law that whenever a government is contemplating taking a decision, which potentially may adversely affect the asserted rights of Indigenous people, consultation is required. Generally, we facilitate all such consultations with the provincial government departments and Indigenous governments and organizations.

 

Our third line of business is to interact with Indigenous governments and organizations so that we can reflect their views, interests and values to other departments of the government in the delivery of programs and services, because Indigenous people have unique experiences due to history, geography, culture, linguistics, traditions. To the extent that these are not reflected in the delivery of programs and services, they will not effectively meet the needs of Indigenous people. We provide a lens on that to the other provincial government departments.

 

Those would be the three lines of businesses which brings Indigenous Affairs into frequent contact with the provincial departments, the federal government and Indigenous governments and organizations. In addition to that, there is an annual round table where the Premier meets with all the Indigenous leaders in the province to have a view to common priorities and common initiatives that could be worked on.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Evans, your time has expired.

 

Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

Let’s start with Salaries. I note that you said you had a senior position that retired. That position was refilled, yes?

 

MR. GOVER: No.

 

MS. COFFIN: No. Okay.

 

MR. GOVER: This person that retired –not to get into the details of it – was on secondment to another department for a long period of time, but was still listed on the books as an Indigenous Affairs employee. We used to have five senior analysts. That person’s duty was assumed by the rest of the staff. That person has not worked for Indigenous Affairs for five years, so when that person made their decision to retire, there was really no need to fill the position because all those duties had been taken care of.

 

MS. COFFIN: Their salary doesn’t show up here, it shows up in the department to which they had been seconded? Because it seems that your severances –

 

MR. GOVER: I’ll have to review that. All I know is that when the person retired, their termination benefits and their salary continuance and things like that, we had to pay for it in part, which caused the cost overrun.

 

MS. COFFIN: I guess the larger issue that I’m trying to get at here is that if there was attrition, or we lost that one position, I was wondering about if that position had been refilled. But it’s a bit anomalous that the salary budget for last year and Estimates for this year is exactly the same, so that tells me that there’s no step increases included in this, nor was there any attrition in that. So I’m a little confused as to how the department expects to be able to meet its salary targets without including that type of escalation.

 

MR. GOVER: I can’t really speak to how the steps are taken care of. I will say this, with the money that is being asked for in these Estimates for ’19-’20, the current staff complement will not be affected.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay, all right.

 

MR. GOVER: I would note that part of that is we currently have two vacancies, so this allows us some flexibility. But we do intend to fill those vacancies.

 

MS. COFFIN: I’d be very curious to see how that all pans out. So if the vacancies exist, that means that we’re not paying out that salary right now. Somewhere in here along the way, people would’ve gotten their normal salary escalations and I know that there are no anniversary increases because we’re pegged at zero for the last four years, but it’d be interesting to see how that all pans out there. I’ll mark it for next year, perhaps.

 

MR. GOVER: Yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: Let’s ask, perhaps, some policy questions now. We know that Indigenous groups were not at the table in the early days of Muskrat Falls, or when the decision was made to cut services in Black Tickle. Has government now made any effort to ensure that Indigenous groups are at the table when decisions regarding them are being made?

 

MR. GOVER: Definitely. There is an Aboriginal Consultation Policy, which is online at the Indigenous Affairs website. It deals with consultation on lands and resource decisions that the government is making. We certainly have encouraged our colleagues in all the other departments too, on social policy, to consult with all Indigenous organizations, far and wide, in depth, as soon as possible. Because as I said, the experiences of Indigenous people are different than non-Indigenous people.

 

MS. COFFIN: Absolutely.

 

MR. GOVER: And without those experiences being reflected in programs and services, they will not be affected. So we’ve encouraged all our departments, consult early, consult often, social policy in particular. Thirdly, as I said, we have the Indigenous round table. When I’m ever in doubt about consultations sometimes, which can happen, I have the former CEO of the Assembly of First Nations to provide me with some guidance on that matter.

 

MS. COFFIN: Wonderful, that’s very reassuring.

 

Okay, I have follow-up questions. We are wondering if there is a provincial action plan with Indigenous people at the table to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals.

 

MR. GOVER: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls just came out. We honour all those people, survivors and families that came forward and provided the testimony in difficult circumstances. We have had a preliminary look at the 231 calls to justice and we’re assessing the actions the province can take on those 231 calls.

 

But we must bring this national tragedy to an end. We appreciate the wisdom of the commission in their first call to justice saying that there must be a national action plan by the federal government, the provinces, the territories, Indigenous governments, in consultation with Indigenous people, to bring this to an end. The prime minister has promised that and we look forward to participating in that with everyone else to bring this genocide to an end.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay.

 

We do have a provincial action plan that includes that, so I’m assuming that’s not formalized, given your response there, but we’re waiting for the national action plan to –?

 

MR. GOVER: No, I didn’t say that.

 

MS. COFFIN: No? Okay.

 

MR. GOVER: I said we’re looking at it now, but it’s impossible to say – the report came out just a while ago – to have a provincial action plan in a few days.

 

MS. COFFIN: I’m just asking if there was a plan to have the plan.

 

Jordan’s Principle – is there any intention to implement Jordan’s Principle?

 

MR. GOVER: My understanding from speaking to my colleagues in the Social Department is Jordan’s Principle is fully implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador. No child in Newfoundland and Labrador fails to receive a service due to a jurisdictional dispute with the federal government. We will deliver the service immediately and then if we feel we must pursue the federal government for reimbursement, we will do that after the service is delivered.

 

MS. COFFIN: So it is fully implemented? That is very reassuring, Sir, thank you.

 

We’re looking at the Office of the Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Youth Advocate did a review of experiences of Innu children in protective care. Can government provide an update on whether this review and associated legislative changes have helped address the over representation of Indigenous children in protective care?

 

MR. GOVER: This would be a question that would be better directed towards the Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development. But we are definitely encouraged by the revisions that were made in consultation with Indigenous governments and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador to the new provincial act on child welfare.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you.

 

The inquiry report calls up provincial and territorial governments to ensure students are educated about gender and sexual identity. Has there been any movement on that recommendation? Again, I realize that this has only happened in the last couple of days.

 

MR. GOVER: Again, that would probably be a question better directed towards Education. One thing I would say is that the staff of Indigenous Affairs, its full complement, is 11 people, with two support staff. Apart from the programs and services I just talked about, in particular land claims, self-government negotiations, we don’t deliver educational services, we don’t deliver health services and we don’t deliver child protection services. We try to provide Indigenous insights into those that do. So the mandate for the delivery of the services rests with others.

 

MS. COFFIN: Okay. I will ask them. That will be wonderful.

 

In terms of recommendations now, we’re looking at guaranteed access to legal services to defend and assert human rights and Indigenous rights. Is that recommendation also on the books? And I assume you’d be working with the Department of Justice under that one?

 

MR. GOVER: On all 231 Calls to Action, when I went down through them, I believe 175 Calls to Action implicated the province in some way. So we will be working on all of those. There were probably 30 that were directed solely to the federal government and maybe another 30 that might’ve been directed towards third parties.

 

But all the 231 Calls to Action that implicate the province in any way, we’ll be working with our colleagues on them, yes.

 

MS. COFFIN: I am glad you brought that up. Because of the Calls to Action, I’m just wondering how many recommendations have been implemented to date. What are the timelines on the other recommendations? And that’s the 2015 Calls to Action.

 

MR. GOVER: The TRC?

 

MS. COFFIN: Yes.

 

MR. GOVER: We have engaged with the Indigenous governments and organizations of the province on the TRC Calls to Action. They provided us with some feedback. Work has been done on many of the calls that are directed towards the province. There are 30 of the 94 that are directed towards the province. And we’re hoping to advance that work this year with those organizations in light of the comments they’ve given us.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you very much, I appreciate it. That’s all my questions for now.

 

CHAIR: Any other questions, Ms. Evans?

 

MS. EVANS: Deputy Minister, you were saying Indigenous Affairs has a role for leadership facilitation and also has the ability to help with implementation of services when it comes to Aboriginal peoples.

 

Just going through the last year, government announced the intention for an inquiry into the Innu children in care. I see no monies allotted, not much progress on this. So I was wondering, in terms of the role that you specifically outlined, because of the seriousness – without our children we’re nothing, without our children’s knowledge and growing up in our Indigenous communities, we don’t have culture, we won’t have language. So this inquiry is very, very important to us because we have to find a solution.

 

So, I’m asking you now, Deputy Minister, would Indigenous Affairs have the ability to advocate for advancing the inquiry and putting forward monies, because, like I said, without the inquiry, without the ability to bring our children home, without the ability to keep our children in our communities, there’s not going to be any culture, there’s not going to be any language, our history will die.

 

In actual fact, if you want to look at cultural genocide, Deputy Minister, failure to act can result in cultural genocide.

 

MR. GOVER: I agree that’s a crucial issue that all children grow and thrive in their language and culture.

 

On the Innu inquiry, we did work out a joint terms of reference with the Innu and sent if off to the federal government and asked the federal government to fully participate in the inquiry. There was a point in time that the Innu weren’t satisfied with the level of participation in the inquiry.

 

In Indigenous matters, the federal government has jurisdiction over Indians and land reserved for Indians, which we know includes all Indigenous people in Canada, and there’s no solutions unless there’s community solutions. So when we deal with Indigenous Affairs it’s a tripod: federal government, provincial government, Indigenous community, Indigenous government.

 

We’ve maintained close liaison with the federal government and with the Innu on this matter. I believe we’re coming closer to a resolution, but there are still some issues outstanding with the federal government on this inquiry.

 

MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Any other questions?

 

Mr. Lane.

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, just a couple of quick ones.

 

Deputy Minister, when I attended the Estimates for the Department of Justice one of the questions that was asked was related to inquiries. The Minister of Justice, for example, had indicated pretty much – it sounded like they were going to be dropping the idea of the Humber Valley Paving inquiry, as an example. It was no longer a priority, and so much time has passed.

 

I’m just wondering, as it relates to the other inquiry, Burton Winters and that tragedy, I know the federal government is doing some work on its own as it relates to the air service and rescue and so on, but is that something that’s still on the radar of your department, to ensure that gets done?

 

MR. GOVER: Unfortunately, Sir, I wish I had an answer to your question, but we’re not the lead agency on that particular inquiry or that particular matter.

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

MR. GOVER: I know the individual was Indigenous, but other folks have the lead on it, so, unfortunately, I have no knowledge to answer your question.

 

MR. LANE: Okay. All right. I thought I would ask.

 

I guess the only other question I had relates to, of course, the Muskrat Falls Project and the issue about methylmercury and so on. I’ve heard from people, as I’m sure all Members have, from Labrador about their concern around that. Would you have any involvement in any of the discussions that are occurring around that issue?

 

MR. GOVER: Well, I believe that there has been recent publicity on that. The Premier recently had a meeting with the Indigenous leadership, and that movement is expected on that to go forward.

 

MR. LANE: Okay.

 

MR. GOVER: We’ve asked for the views of the Indigenous governments to move forward on the consensus-based approach.

 

MR. LANE: Is there any idea as to at what point in time there would be a decision made one way or the other, or that wouldn’t have anything to do with you?

 

MR. GOVER: That would be –

 

MR. LANE: I’m sure you’re involved to some degree.

 

MR. GOVER: That’s a decision that will be made when it’s made. That’s all I can say.

 

MR. LANE: Yeah, okay.

 

That’s all the questions I had. Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Okay, no other questions?

 

CLERK: 2.5.03.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.5.03 carry?

 

All those in favour, ‘aye.’

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Carried.

 

On motion, subhead 2.5.03 carried.

 

CLERK: 2.6.01 to 2.6.02.

 

CHAIR: We’re going to move into 2.6.01 to 2.6.02.

 

MR. OSBORNE: We’ve had a couple of additions, so I’ll ask our staff to introduce themselves.

 

CHAIR: Thank you.

 

MR. BOWLES: Good afternoon everyone.

 

My name is Ron Bowles, Deputy Minister of Labrador Affairs Secretariat.

 

CHAIR: We’ll start the questions, Ms. Evans, on 2.6.01 and 2.6.02.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay.

 

Under 2.6.01 under Executive Support, just looking at the Salaries. In ’18-’19, Salaries went over budget by $30,100. This year the budget for Salaries is increasing to $473,200. This is a $4,900 increase.

 

Can the minister please give an overview of this?

 

MR. BOWLES: Yes, thank you.

 

The reason for the $30,100 overage is a result of a retro Labrador allowance that had to be paid out to one of our employees. As for the $4,900, that’s an increase from our 2018-19 budget as identified under the zero-based budget salary plan.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

2.6.02, Labrador Affairs, just looking at the Salaries now. In ’18-’19, Salaries went over budget by $43,000. Can the minister please outline why?

 

MR. BOWLES: Yes, thank you.

 

The reason for the salary overage there is a $57,200 severance and related benefits for one employee that departed from us, so that was the primary, and we had some vacancies that offset that as well, but that would be main reason for the salary overrun there.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

Moving down to Grants and Subsidies, can you minister please outline what the $569,000 was for? Grants and Subsidies; the budget.

 

MR. BOWLES: Thank you for the question.

 

So, our Grants and Subsidies would be for the Labrador Transportation Grooming Subsidy that provides access for winter road access, particularly on the North Coast of Labrador for all communities that are not connected to a road to the nearest service centre which is North West River.

 

MS. EVANS: Right.

 

MR. BOWLES: We also do it on the South Coast from Cartwright to Black Tickle, and to Norman Bay as well.

 

The other grants are the Labrador Aboriginal Nutritional assistance program, under that as well. We provide $50,000 there: $20,000 to the Nunatsiavut Government, $20,000 to NunatuKavut and $10,000 to the Innu Nation. We also have the Combined Councils of Labrador, which is $100,000 a year, and we also have recently taken over the Labrador Travel Subsidy, which is $730,000.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay.

 

Continuing on with Grants and Subsidies now, can the minister please outline what the $1.8 million is for? Can you look at the difference between 2018-’19 and the Estimates for 2019-’20?

 

MR. BOWLES: The reason for that increase is we have a one-time budget allotment of $449,000 and that’s to buy a groomer. Also, the groomers for Cartwright, that’s to update the modern fleet. The other reason is for two snowmobiles and the drags that will be used on the North Coast of Labrador from Hopedale to Nain to try essentially a pilot project on ice conditions, try to do the ice trails. It’s the first time we’ve done that.

 

The other additions are $52,000 for just general operating increases for the Labrador trail Grooming Subsidy. The other difference for the $1.8 million is the $730,000 in the Labrador Travel Subsidy that’s been transferred from Children, Seniors and Social Development to Labrador Affairs Secretariat.

 

MS. EVANS: Which community did you say the groomer was for?

 

MR. BOWLES: That would be from Hopedale to Nain. They’re looking at putting two snowmobiles and two drags to look at trying to see if we can – this year we marked the ice between the communities and it was a very big success. Now we’re looking at seeing with the snowmobiles if we can do something on the ice to make the trails more manageable for the travelling public.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

Looking at Labrador Affairs staff now, how many of them are located in Labrador?

 

MR. BOWLES: We have 10 permanent employees, one seasonal. All 11 employees are located in Labrador. We have nine based in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, one based in Labrador West and our seasonal employee is based out of North West River.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

Just looking at the trails now in Labrador, I believe last year you talked about extending the trails. Can you give us an update on that?

 

MR. BOWLES: I most certainly can. For the first time last year we extended our trails. Traditionally, we just went from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to North West River, North West River to Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet. For the first time this year we tried to go up from Makkovik to Hopedale to Nain and we did a marking of the trails. It’s been a very successful year. We’re also in the process now of getting additional shelters and we’re working with local stakeholders to see if we can get shelters along the trails for safety reasons.

 

Our initial preliminary reports are it was a very successful year. For the people that are using those trails on the ice conditions, we weren’t sure that was going to work. It went over very well and we’re planning to continue to keep marking those trails on a go-forward basis.

 

MS. EVANS: Yes. Thank you.

 

I personally use the trails and I noticed a big improvement, especially out on the frozen ocean. It’s actually really, really good, very successful.

 

Just looking now at the Labrador food subsidy program, you said there’s a Labrador Aboriginal nutrition assistance program.

 

MR. BOWLES: Yes.

 

MS. EVANS: Can you just basically give an overview of that?

 

MR. BOWLES: A very quick overview of that is that is a $50,000 grant that’s provided to – as I said before, $10,000 to Innu Nation, $20,000 to Nunatsiavut Government and $20,000 to NunatuKavut. That funding is available for programs such as the community freezer program; it can be used for artistic endeavours that may be for the Indigenous communities there. For instance, where the caribou have been in decline, we’ve also used it to transfer moose from the Island to Nunatsiavut Government, as an example.

 

Those are things that – the money that we provide, we work closely with those organizations to see how they want to spend that money.

 

MS. EVANS: In the past, was there an air subsidy for trying to get nutritional food to the isolated communities?

 

MR. BOWLES: There was, and that program was discontinued and replaced with the Labrador Aboriginal Nutritional assistance program. Our program was $50,000 and the federal program was a multi-million dollar program, and the analysis on it was that it just wasn’t making the difference that we were trying to achieve. We went with this – in consultation with Indigenous groups – the Labrador Aboriginal Nutritional Assistance Program.

 

MS. EVANS: The reason why the one that subsidized the actual cost of getting the nutritional food into the communities was cancelled was because it wasn’t …?

 

MR. BOWLES: It’s a federal program, the Nutritional North program, so we were doing $50,000 trying to subsidize the program, but the cost of administering the program was more than the actual benefits that were coming from the – there’s no real benefits from that $50,000 program on a multi-million dollar federal program. It was decided at the time it was better used to give the money directly to the Indigenous governments and organizations so they could use that themselves. I use the examples of transferring moose from the Island to Labrador and using community freezers.

 

MS. EVANS: Okay, thank you.

 

CHAIR: Ms. Coffin.

 

MS. COFFIN: Thank you very much.

 

The first thing that I note here is in Transportation and Communications, both in Executive Support and Labrador Affairs, it is bang on. The only thing I see different is that you took $100 out of Labrador Affairs and put it up into Executive Support.

 

Congratulations because every other section that I have sat through – and I feel like I’ve sat through most of them –had increases in Transportation and Communications because they were bringing people to Labrador. You guys got that one down. Well done on that. I’m very impressed.

 

That leads me to my next question, which is: Is government looking at a way to curb travel costs across departments for travel to Labrador and for Labradorians to travel as well?

 

MR. BOWLES: Absolutely. We do a lot of travel to the Labrador communities. It’s a very diverse region as we all know, and so you’re looking at 300,000 square kilometres with 32 communities. We’re trying our best to get around, but we certainly take advantage of the technology.

 

Our staff, where possible, will do teleconferences. We monitor all those teleconferences and we record them. It’s a balance of being in the region and also being in St. John’s and trying to make that a very effective balance.

 

As an example for myself, personally, once a week the deputy ministers meet. I would say 90 per cent of the time I will attend those by teleconference. When I’m in town on business I will join those conferences, but we are very cognizant of our travel dollars. It’s very expensive to travel to the North Coast, to the South Coast and to St. John’s, and we’ve been able to manage that in our travel envelope very well. But we do continue to use teleconferences a fair bit and linked-in systems where we can.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’s excellent; I’m going to recommend that you be in charge of travel to Labrador for all government.

 

MR. BOWLES: I’m just looking at the Minister of Finance, to see if he’s nodding.

 

MS. COFFIN: That’s all my questions in this section.

 

Thank you.

 

CHAIR: Any other questions, Ms. Evans?

 

MR. LANE: I have one on –

 

CHAIR: On 2.6.01 nothing, Ms. Evans?

 

MR. LANE: I didn’t have one until you were talking about the moose. I’m just curious if I’m mishearing you. You’re transporting moose to Labrador? Is that what you said? Did I hear you say that?

 

MR. BOWLES: We have been.

 

MR. LANE: Is that dead moose or – is that moose meat or is that live moose?

 

MR. BOWLES: We’re not transporting live moose. We have worked closely, particularly with the Nunatsiavut government, in the past with my previous colleague, the deputy minister of Indigenous Affairs. With the decline in caribou as a stable food product for the Inuit particularly, we’ve worked in collaboration to work with getting a certain allotment of moose to the Nunatsiavut Government in the past.

 

MR. LANE: What do you mean by getting a – forgive me, I’m not really overly familiar with Labrador and how it works. Somebody is shooting moose in one part of Labrador, or they’re shooting them here in Newfoundland and you’re sending the moose meat up? Is that what you’re saying?

 

MR. BOWLES: We certainly would work with Fisheries and Lands Resources. It’s a controlled hunt and there would be a certain allotment and those are transferred to the Nunatsiavut Government. If you need, we could certainly try to provide further details on that for you as to how that works.

 

MR. LANE: No, no, it’s more curiosity than anything, I’m just really surprised that –

 

MR. BOWLES: Actually, it was very, very successful. To be clear here, the caribou is the preference but with the declining stock – that was just something that was tried and if the Nunatsiavut Government continues to request that, we will, where possible, try to assist them.

 

MR. LANE: Very good.

 

That’s all I have.

 

CHAIR: Okay, no further questions?

 

CLERK: 2.6.01 to 2.6.02 inclusive.

 

CHAIR: Shall 2.6.01 to 2.6.02 inclusive carry?

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Opposed?

 

On motion, 2.6.01 to 2.6.02 inclusive carried.

 

CHAIR: We’re at 12:33 and we still have Human Resources Secretariat and OCIO left to cover. Shall we …?

 

MS. COFFIN: I’d like to make a recommendation that we adjourn and find another time to go back. These are two fairly large sections and we have less than an hour before many of us are expected back in the House again.

 

CHAIR: Everybody in favour of that, to reconvene to discuss those two items?

 

Anybody objecting to it?

 

If it’s the wish of the Committee, we’ll adjourn for now and then reconvene at a time that the Clerk is able to arrange. I apologize to those that are waiting anxiously to jump in the hot seat, but people have to prepare for the House.

 

I’ll ask for a motion to adjourn.

 

MR. WARR: So moved.

 

CHAIR: So moved by Mr. Warr.

 

All those in favour?

 

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Aye.

 

CHAIR: Carried.

 

Thank you very much.

 

On motion, the Committee adjourned.